Man steals belongings worth thousands from parents to feed drug habit


Robert James Gifford, 34, was sentenced to 3 months of community detention and 200 hours of community work for repeatedly raiding his parent’s home in Feilding, stealing over $20,000 worth of their belongings.

Murray Wilson/Stuff

Robert James Gifford, 34, was sentenced to 3 months of community detention and 200 hours of community work for repeatedly raiding his parent’s home in Feilding, stealing over $20,000 worth of their belongings.

A man betrayed his family’s trust by repeatedly raiding his parents’ house, stealing tens of thousands of dollars of their belongings, to feed his drug habit.

Robert James Gifford, 34, appeared before Judge Bruce Northwood for sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday on two burglary charges.

Gifford, from Ashhurst, had pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to three months’ community detention and 200 hours of community work.

He was also ordered to pay reparation to his parents and the pawn shops from which some stolen items were recovered

READ MORE:
* Mother nearly four times drink-drive limit when getting children from school
* Man convicted of domestic violence for the 17th time
* Mongrel Mob gangster jailed after failed attempts to recover drug debt
* Man convicted for the 21st time for assaulting partner

Between August 25 and September 16, 2019, Gifford stole $20,000 of household items from his parents’ home in Feilding.

A kitchen appliance Gifford sold to Cash Converters for $600 and $2935 of goods he sold to Xtra Cash were later recovered and returned to them.

And earlier that year, between July 26 and August 24, Gifford had taken $1654 in South African Rand and Euros belonging to his mother.

Gifford’s lawyer Simon Parsons said someone else was originally charged alongside Gifford, but the case against her had been dismissed.

Northwood asked Gifford to clarify what he spent the money on, because court documents showed he’d given officials two explanations.

Originally, Gifford said he’d stolen from his parents so he could spend money on his children after a hand injury meant he couldn’t work.

He later admitted it was actually to buy methamphetamine, which he confirmed in court.

Northwood said it was extraordinary that Gifford had repeatedly stolen from his parents and poisoned his relationship with his family for drug money.

“I’m not going to get into what your mother had to say about that in her victim statement in open court.

“Only time will tell if that relationship can be repaired. I hope so, but that’s up to you.”

Northwood said he believed Gifford’s assertion he hated what he’d done and acknowledged Gifford had sought treatment for his addiction.

“I strongly suspect if you weren’t a methamphetamine user this wouldn’t have happened.”

Gifford was also placed under a six-month supervision notice, which required him to undergo counselling and continue his treatment for drug addiction.

The judge warned him to take it seriously and be honest with his counsellors, because only Gifford would know if he was truly making progress.

“I hope you’ve stopped using already and stay off it because otherwise we will see you again.”