Alleged thieves Gregory James Murphy and James Robert Pattenden.
Alleged thieves Gregory James Murphy and James Robert Pattenden.

Are these Queensland’s dumbest criminals?

TWO clueless criminals who allegedly stole copper cabling from a Rockhampton business made two big mistakes - one was wearing a GPS tracker while the other used his own court papers to start a fire.

Gregory James Murphy, 31, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday to wilful damage, starting a fire illegally, break and enter and stealing, the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin reports.

Co-accused James Robert Pattenden, 30, intends to plead not guilty to five of his six charges.

Police prosecutor Clancy Fox said the pair stole two drums of copper cable worth $2000 and 1040m of other copper cabling from a business at Port Curtis on May 27 by cutting a hole in the fence.

Pattenden had been paroled and had a GPS tracker fitted to his ankle.

Mr Fox said the pair were found the next day at Stanwell Power Station burning the casing of the cables to get to the copper, using petrol.

Murphy's lawyer Rowan King said his client also used his court paperwork as kindling.

Mr King said Murphy had returned to Rockhampton from drug rehabilitation in Townsville for a legal appointment over other charges and to see his daughter.

"While he was here, he caught up with a person he had spent time with in custody," he said.

"He relapsed."

Mr King said Murphy had run out of money to return north.

Murphy had a 13-page criminal history, referred to by Magistrate Mark Morrow as "atrocious", and was sentenced to 18 months jail.

Lawyer Scheryn Aspinall-Clarke applied for bail for Pattenden.

She said Pattenden's GPS tracker would show he was at the scene of the crime but argued he did not carry out most of the offending.

Ms Aspinall-Clarke said that, since his release from prison in recent weeks after a 17-month period in custody, Pattenden had been avoiding known criminals, other than Murphy.

She said her client, who did not have a driver's licence, was a passenger in Murphy's car and thought they were going to Gracemere.

Ms Aspinall-Clarke said Pattenden argued with Murphy when he realised they were diverting away from Gracemere and had asked to be let out of the car.

The court was told Stanwell staff who witnessed the pair burning the cables took photographs of the men.

Mr Morrow adjourned Pattenden's bail application until today.