A mother of four who burgled her neighbour's home has been given community work and a stern telling off for her actions.
Nicole Ashlie Ruwhiu, 26, appeared in Whangarei District Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to burglary of a home on July 17 in Kauri, just north of Whangarei.
Defence lawyer Aaron Dooney said Ruwhiu was at a loss to explain why she burgled her neighbour's home.
"She's very remorseful. She sees the complainant every day and would have apologised to her personally, but for her bail conditions."
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He said the woman could now make the apology, she had no previous convictions for burglary and he said community work was an appropriate sentence for Ruwhiu, who lived with her four kids and partner.
Judge Duncan Harvey said Ruwhiu was entitled to credit for her guilty plea, which came at the earliest possible opportunity, and all the property she stole had been returned.
"Imagine if, upon leaving court today, you got home and found that while you had been out somebody entered your house and ripped you off," Judge Harvey told Ruwhiu.
"If you could have some idea of how you would feel [if that happened] you will know how the owner of this property feels.
"You can't afford to do this again."
Judge Harvey sentenced Ruwhiu to 100 hours of community work.