Pot user at 12, injecting drugs at 17, armed robber at 31

BEAU Richard Kelley was a cannabis user at 12, an intravenous drug user at 17, and an armed robber at 31.

The young man's spiral into drug addiction and crime hit rock bottom when he robbed the Bundilla Guardian Pharmacy on December 5 last year.

He was not looking for money - he was looking for drugs.

Methadone, the antidepressant Xanax and the painkiller OxyContin were his drugs of choice.

Claiming to be armed with a knife, Kelley demanded the drugs and attempted to run off but was tackled to the ground by the manager.

The Maroochydore District Court heard yesterday that the 11-and-a-half months Kelley had since spent in custody had been his longest drug-free period since he was 12.

Judge John Robertson warned Kelley that even though he had a supportive family, he would find himself on a "slippery slope" if he began using drugs again and his future was now his choice.

"A good, loving family can go so far but I've seen many people where you are now fall back because of drugs," he said.

Judge Robertson said drug addiction was a factor he took into an account in sentencing Kelley "but not an excuse" for his crime.

Kelley, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and the wilful damage of a watchhouse door, was sentenced to four years' jail and will be due for parole in April.

Judge Robertson noted the impact the robbery had on the pharmacy and manager.

The robbery was at least the second at the pharmacy.

"A number of elderly customers have expressed concern about coming to the pharmacy because they are scared of being robbed." Drugs targeted by robbers are no longer sold there.