Break in while on high 'only in the movies '

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A Napier man under the influence of drugs broke into a school garage because he thought he was on the set of the Lord of the Rings and had come across a wooden shed in a forest.

Police said Donovan Gene Hannay, 22, had taken some non-prescription drugs during a drinking session before he broke into the Napier Intermediate School garage in the early hours of September 23.

Hannay is the son of Napier city councillor Michelle Pyke.

Hannay removed a glass window and climbed inside the double garage, rummaging inside drawers and moving items, but taking only a set of keys. Fingerprints taken from the scene matched Hannay's and the keys were later found at the address at which he was staying.

After sentencing, Hannay said it wasn't quite the Lord of the Rings fantasy portrayed in court, but simply that he found himself in a field and came across a hut.

He said: "It was like one in the morning and I was wasted and I was walking across a dark field. I didn't know it was in a school."

When he flicked the light switch on inside the garage he clicked to what he was doing and jumped out of the window and headed home, he said.

"I got the phonecall saying 'did you do this robbery?' and I had no idea. It turns out I did."

He admitted he shouldn't have done it, and pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary.

"That was just a once-off, I don't even drink that much, that was all homebrew. Homebrew spirits and clonazepam, I'm never doing that again," he said.

His counsel Philip Jensen said it was not a "normal type of burglary" and that Hannay had co-operated fully with the police.

"I don't think anyone's making any dispute of the explanation as to how he got himself into that situation. He has taken responsibility for his actions that evening and pleaded guilty at an early opportunity," Mr Jensen said.

Judge Heather Simpson sentenced Hannay to 120 hours' community work.

Despite his "fanciful idea" of what was going on, she said it followed a common pattern of burglary while under the influence of a substance.

Councillor Pyke said she found out about the incident when police called. "I'm not condoning it, I have no excuses, nor would I, for what he's done," she said.

"He's a 22-year-old, he does know better. There was no question I tore strips off him. I told him, 'you're on your own with this one'."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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