A judge told a Whangarei man who offered reparation to overseas tourists he stole from to walk the talk and show the court the money before he was sentenced.

Te Ao Davis, 23, targeted tourist cars at AH Reed Memorial Park in Whangarei in August and stole travel documents, USB memory sticks and sentimental items.

He committed the offence with Hare Shortland who was last month sentenced by Whangarei District Court to 21 months' jail with a warning from presiding judge Greg Davis at that time that criminals who targeted tourists and their belongings would face the full brunt of the law.

Te Ao Davis last week appeared for sentencing on five charges of theft from cars. Both men stole $6900 worth of items from five tourists and Davis' share of reparation was $3135.

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Davis' parents were in court and offered to help their son compensate the tourists for their loss. Judge John McDonald said an upfront payment of $1000 would help rather than dripfeeding the total amount to be paid on a weekly or monthly basis. He adjourned sentencing until after lunch to allow the parents to bring the money to court as show of proof.

They did and Davis, being a first time offender, was sentenced to four months' community detention and 175 hours' community work. He was ordered to pay the balance by January 31 next year.

Davis' mother addressed the judge saying she didn't find out about the offending until a few weeks ago.

She said her son had brought embarrassment to his family and his conduct was far removed from his upbringing.

The mother said his offending was "dumb and illogical" and said he was told during a family korero that items of sentimental value could not be replaced. Judge McDonald, too, had something to say about the need to keep Northland's tourism image unblemished.

"Attacks on tourists have a ripple effect on Northland's economy. More than one overseas tourist will go back and talk to their family and friends about their experience here."