Clearing the scrap heap leads to jail

A TOOWOOMBA man who collected and sold discarded scrap metal left at the side of Queensland Rail lines has been jailed.

Sean William Ingram, 49, was pulled over while driving through Cambooya on the morning of November 20 last year by a police patrol that noticed his station wagon was heavily loaded.

Police noted a quantity of old metal railway sleepers and rail pins in the car, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.

Ingram told police he collected discarded metal from near rail lines and sold it for scrap to obtain extra cash for his family, police prosecutor Senior Constable Des Neijens told the court.

An audit of the scrap metal business with which Ingram had been dealing found over the previous 12 months he had sold 96 tonnes of metal for which he had received $17,256, Snr Const. Neijens said.

Ingram pleaded guilty to stealing and fraud.

His solicitor Peter Sloane told the court his client accepted Queensland Rail had an approved contractor which collected its discarded scrap metal.

However, his client claimed he only retrieved the scrap metal left behind after that contractor had collected the loads of material.

His client had six children and instructed all money received went to cover family costs, in particular therapy and medical expenses for one child who suffered a disability, he said.

Magistrate Damian Carroll said stealing from a public company was a serious offence.

He sentenced Ingram to 12 months jail, but ordered he be released on parole on July 25 after having served four months.

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