Ballarat builder Campbell Hughes, a speedway racer who competed in the Victorian AMCA Nationals state champs, stripped 60 trucks of their diesel particulate filters (DPFs) on a month-long crime spree, reports the Herald Sun.
Hughes, 43, pleaded guilty in the County Court earlier this week to 47 charges of theft and also to committing an indictable offence on bail and to drug possession.
The court heard Hughes stockpiled the valuable platinum-laden DPFs between April and May last year before fencing the parts for cash at various Melbourne scrapyards.
The prosecution submitted Hughes’ combined parts heist was worth “approximately” $320,000.
The Herald Sun reported that Hughes targeted trucks at or near businesses scattered through Melbourne’s west and northwest including at Derrimut and Tarneit.
The court heard that the trucks were of multiple makes and ages and at least one of the filters was worth $14,000.
Hughes used his mechanical acumen and specialist tools including reciprocating saws to remove the part from the trucks.
“This is outrageous offending as far as I’m concerned,” Judge McInerney said.
“Here’s a man who says he a carpenter who goes through at night, late at night, ripping off people who are carrying out businesses … causing what must be untold disturbances to businesses in a spree where he’s doing it for money, no doubt to get drugs.”
Hughes, who has spent 237 days on remand, will be sentenced on October 27.