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Shamed footballers bolt from court to avoid waiting media

Brendan Clarke and Stephen Pugh run out of court to avoid a media cameraman. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Brendan Clarke and Stephen Pugh run out of court to avoid a media cameraman. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

SHAMED Boyne Island, Tannum Sands footballers Steve Pugh and Brendan Clarke have had their drunken player behaviour exposed.

In an unsportsman-like act the Aussie Rules BITS former captain and vice-captain stole the sports gear and personal belongings of rival Glenmore players during a chance encounter at a hotel.

And in a bid to avoid waiting media yesterday the guilty pair bolted from Gladstone Courthouse, setting a cracking pace up the street.

Pugh, 24, and Clarke, 23, each pleaded guilty to breaking into and stealing the sports gear and personal belongings of players from the Glenmore Bulls Australian Rules team.

Gladstone Magistrates Court heard that after stealing the gear from the Bulls team's bus trailer, parked outside Raglan Tavern, many items ended up dumped on the Bruce Hwy.

The financial loss to Glenmore players totalled $1629 and magistrate Penelope Hay ordered the pair to each pay $814.50 for the losses. Both were fined $500, the convictions not recorded

Pugh, a school teacher, and Clarke, a plumber, broke into the trailer at 7pm on June 20 last year.

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"It's described as a prank gone wrong but it is difficult to see how such a prank could have gone right," Ms Hay told the pair.

"Stolen property and damage by throwing it out.

"That's not a prank; (if it was intended) it is a very foolish one."

She said that as captain and vice captain they should have been setting a good example.

"It is poor behaviour by players when drunk, yet another example of that," she said.

Sgt Stevens said some Bulls players saw the pair near the trailer that held Glenmore players' travel bags and sport equipment.

Later, another team member found some of the stolen bags beside the highway, as if thrown from a moving vehicle.

Sgt Stevens said the stolen gear included football shorts and boots, a wedding ring, mouthguards, house keys, wallets, personal cards, a phone charger and sunglasses.

He said Glenmore club officials later spoke to the Boyne Island club and arrangements were made to return some of the property, including a wallet although it was not known if money was still inside.

"The Boyne Island football club called a committee meeting and these two (Pugh and Clarke) stood up and admitted they did the stealing in a prank that went wrong," Sgt Stevens said.

"They were disciplined by the club."

Lawyer Jun Pepito said the BITS team was returning home after a Rockhampton game.

He said they had mingled, drinking alcohol, before stopping at the tavern to get more alcohol.

Mr Pepito said Clarke went into the tavern but Pugh, who was injured and had had enough alcohol, stayed on the bus.

"Clarke says that inside he spoke to Glenmore players. They were talking and showing off about their new sports gear," he said.

Mr Pepito said that after one player showed Clarke to the vehicle he had, for an unknown reason, decided to take the gear as a prank.

Mr Pepito said both players were stood down by their club for two matches and lost their positions as captain and vice-captain.

Ms Hay, in sentencing, took into account both players had received additional punishment.

"... Both brought the club into disrepute by their criminal behaviour," she said.

"The club lost points for the round fixture."

Topics:  court, crime, gladstone, gladstone region




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