The owner of a stolen truck activated a GPS tracking unit to catch the thief, the Greymouth District Court heard yesterday.

Zarn Murphy admitted stealing the Isuzu truck from outside the Runanga Rugby League clubrooms at Dunollie, north of Greymouth on May 26.

He then drove it to Taylorville and Ngahere.

Police prosecutor Glenn Henderson said that when the vehicle owner discovered it was missing he activated the GPS unit, which led him to where it was parked near Ngahere.

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"The vehicle owner saw the defendant walking on State highway 7 wearing a high-visibility vest from the truck," Mr Henderson said.

"When the police were called out he was arrested but denied taking the vehicle."

Murphy was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours of community work for vehicle theft.

Judge Alistair Garland said it was fortunate the vehicle owner got his vehicle back and suffered no loss.

Meanwhile, Murphy was also sentenced to nine months' supervision for speaking threateningly to his mother three days earlier during an argument in Cobden. Murphy was intoxicated and shouting abuse, and continued the abuse and offensive behaviour when police arrived.

Judge Garland said Murphy should have shown more respect for his mother.

"It appears that you were intoxicated on alcohol or drugs, or both and became very abusive and carried on when the police arrived, even in their presence," Judge Garland said.

"Your mother was very scared, but she seemed to think you were not thinking straight and she thinks you need help, and I agree. It seems your mother still wants to protect you."

Murphy was ordered to undertake assessment, counselling and treatment for alcohol and drugs, and for anger management.

- Greymouth Star