Andrew Leonard Vernon, 30, pleaded guilty to a string of fraud, drug and driving-related charges when he appeared in custody before the Maroochydore Magistrates Court.
Andrew Leonard Vernon, 30, pleaded guilty to a string of fraud, drug and driving-related charges when he appeared in custody before the Maroochydore Magistrates Court.

‘Callous’ fraudster drained pensioner’s bank account

A CALLOUS fraudster emptied a pensioner's bank account of all but $4 after he stole her debit card under the guise he visited to check on her welfare.

Maroochydore Magistrates Court heard Andrew Leonard Vernon, 30, stole the card, found the PIN nearby then bought food and withdrew the victim's pension cheque on February 7 in Cooroy.

Vernon appeared in custody when he pleaded guilty on Friday to committing these offences, plus eight other drug and driving-related offences.

Police prosecutor Phillip Stephens told the court on January 21 in Cooroy Vernon was charged with possessing 2.4 grams of meth, the drug alprazolam, a controlled drug and drug pipe, and was caught driving with meth in his system.

Vernon further pleaded guilty that on February 3 in Noosa he was drug-affected and in charge of a vehicle reported stolen after he failed to return it to the owner within half an hour.

The court heard Mr Vernon had served 77 days in custody when he was sentenced for these crimes, which were committed while on a suspended jail term for possessing 1.9 grams of meth.

Magistrate Matthew McLaughlin condemned the theft and frauds as Vernon's most serious crimes.

"You went around and said you were checking on (the victim's) welfare, which shows the callousness of what you did," Mr McLaughlin said.

The court heard Vernon's eight-page criminal history was evidence of his drug addiction.

Mr McLaughlin activated the remainder of Vernon's suspended sentence, to be served cumulative with six months' jail for the crimes before the court. This amounted to 15 months' jail with immediate parole eligibility given time already served.

Vernon was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for nine months.