A man who targeted vehicles at popular tourism sites on West Coast has been jailed and order to pay more than $30,000 reparation to his victims.

Hamish James Robin, 30, pleaded guilty in the Greymouth District Court to 14 charges of theft, nine of which carried a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

He was jailed for two years and nine months.

Between November 29 and February 5, Robin broke into tourist cars and campervans in Department of Conservation car parks, stealing almost $35,000 worth of property.


He also caused significant damage to the vehicles and stole items of sentimental value.

He first told police he was selling the items to pay for food and bills, but later said he was feeding a methamphetamine addiction.

Lawyer Eymard Bradley said much of Robin's serious offending took place in his teenage years, and he managed to keep out of trouble for a period after that.

But he developed a meth habit while working as a fisherman and ran out of money to pay for it.

Mr Bradley requested a sentence of home detention with counselling because Robin made "full and frank" admissions to police and had self-referred to drug and alcohol treatment.

But Judge Alistair Garland said Robin had "caused incalculable harm to the reputation of the West Coast community and indeed New Zealand as a tourist destination".

In a victim impact statement, one pair of tourists said they had been saving and planning for the trip for six months and Robin "stole our desire to stay in the country and continue our vacation".

Robin's probation report said he presented as "embittered and entitled", and the current charges could not be considered as aberrations. He had eight previous convictions for burglary, dishonesty and breaching court conditions.


- The Greymouth Star