Homeless woman warned after stealing towels, alcohol, food

STEALING towels, alcohol and food from her motel room and then failing to pay for her accommodation landed Maryborough's Melissa Jo Lane before Maryborough Magistrates Court this week where she was warned that continued criminal behaviour could land her behind bars.

Lane, 27, pleaded guilty to charges of stealing, possessing drugs and utensils, breaching bail conditions, contravening the directions or requirements of police and fraud.

The court heard Lane had been caught by police with a small amount of marijuana and with utensils, including water pipes and a grinder, which had been used in order to ingest the drugs.

In conflict with her family, Lane, who was receiving Centrelink payments, was left with nowhere to live and checked into McNevins Motel in Maryborough.

Realising she would be unable to afford to stay longer, Lane left after two nights, taking items from the hotel, including a hand towel and a tea towel.

She had also consumed a number of items in the room, including food, a bottle of water and alcohol.

When Lane checked into new accommodation, the staff removed the money for her stay immediately from her account, which meant when McNevins Motel tried to take the money for the room and the items Lane took, the account was declined on several occasions.

Duty lawyer Travis George said his client believed there would be sufficient funds in her account to cover the stay at McNevins, not realising the new accommodation would charge upfront and leave her short of money.

The conflict with her family had left Lane with no permanent residence, Mr George said, which had led to the current situation.

When police caught up with Lane, the court heard she contravened the directions of police by failing to provide her name and identification.

She also breached her bail by failing to appear in court, which led to Lane spending two nights in custody.

Magistrate John Smith told Lane that is she appeared before the court again on similar charges, she could be facing a prison sentence.

Lane was fined $2000 for her offences and was ordered to pay compensation of $320.50 to McNevins Motel.