In Tauranga District Court today

By Sandra Conchie

A Welcome Bay teenager has admitted he deliberately lit a fire inside an empty farmhouse at the far end of The Lakes subdivision last month which was gutted in the blaze.

Benjamin David Harris, 18, pleaded guilty to one charge each of arson and burglary in the Tauranga District Court this morning, and was remanded on bail pending sentence on October 5.

Court documents reveal that Harris intentionally damaged by fire a property owned by The Lakes 2012 Ltd near the intersection of Kennedy Rd and Takitimu Drive on August 19.

Reparation of $60,000 has been sought in relation to arson.

The burglary charge relates to a break-in at Te Puna Liquor Store between August 18-19, during which boxes of alcohol were taken.

Harris' alleged two co-offenders, a 16-year-old youth who is due back in the Tauranga Youth Court on September 17 and 17-year-old man who will appear in the Tauranga District Court on September 21, are yet to enter pleas to the charges.

Judge Louis Bidois warned Harris that the fact that he was calling for a home detention report was not an indication that was to be the likely sentencing outcome, as prison was the starting point.

Sentencing for Grange Rd Dairy accused adjourned

Sentencing for the Tauranga man who robbed the owner of the Grange Road Dairy owner of $480 while armed with a pistol on July 2 has been adjourned until later this month.

James Alexander Cooper, 18, briefly appeared in Tauranga District Court this morning for sentence on charges of aggravated robbery and two charges of theft.

But the pre-sentence report has not yet been prepared, and Judge Louis Bidois adjourned sentencing until September 26.

Cooper also pleaded guilty to a shoplifting charge this morning which relates to the theft of $199 Logitech remote control from Dick Smith Mount Maunganui on January 30. He will also be sentenced on this matter on the same date.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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