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'Don't touch me, this is assault': thief

A MAN who told a shop assistant "don't touch me, this is assault" as they tried to stop him as he stole more than $700 worth of clothes from an Airlie Beach store has been sent to prison.

Shane Arthur Douglas Gardiner, 36, of Cannonvale, pleaded guilty in Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday to stealing, failing to properly dispose of a syringe and failing to wear a bicycle helmet.

Prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court Gardiner stole $730 worth of clothes from Billabong in Airlie Beach on February 22.

Sgt Myors said Gardiner went into the store and told a shop assistant he wanted to buy clothes for his brother.

The court was told he then picked up two T-shirts, boardshorts, thongs, a backpack and a woman's hat.

As the shop assistant asked him if he wanted to buy a pair of sunglasses, he said he didn't need to as he was "going to steal them" Sgt Myors said.

The shop assistant tried to stop him as he left without paying for any of the items but Gardiner said to them "don't touch me, this is assault" and threatened to report the assistant to police, Sgt Myors said.

The court was told Gardiner had been in court four days earlier where he had been released on parole on fraud and stealing charges.

"He had a total disregard for parole. He deliberately walked in and stole the items, and even told the attendant he was doing so," Sgt Myors said.

She also told the court police found three syringes - two of which were used, including one that did not have a cap on it - in Gardiner's pocket when they stopped him for not wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle on February 2.

Magistrate Ron Muirhead sentenced Gardiner to six months prison for the Billabong stealing charge and ordered him to pay $700 restitution.

Gardiner was also resentenced to a further six months in prison on the charges he previously received parole for.

With a total sentence of 10 months in prison, Gardiner was made eligible for parole on October 24.