Frenchman cops a fine

A FRENCH backpacker who used a Mildura man’s credit card on a night out has been blocked from leaving the country after he failed to pay back the money.

Franck Pedretti, 26, was given a chance to avoid a criminal conviction after pleading guilty to obtaining property by deception.

He just had to repay $195.30 he spent using a credit card he found in the Mildura CBD.

A 37-year-old from Mildura, who lost his wallet on October 27 last year, cancelled the card after waking up the next day and noticing it had been used at Coles Express, Doms Nightclub and a kebab shop.

More than $500 cash that was in the wallet was never accounted for.

Pedretti was captured on CCTV at the Coles Express and later told police “anyone” who found the credit card “would’ve tried to see if it worked”, the court heard.

“I admit I was thinking more about myself than taking it to police,” Pedretti told police in an interview.

But instead of paying back the money and finishing his time in Australia without a criminal record, the Frenchman booked a flight to Bali, where he intended to soak up some sun before returning to his homeland.

Pedretti’s lawyer Peter Delorenzo said authorities at Melbourne Airport did not allow him to leave the country and ordered him to Mildura to face the court.

Mr Delorenzo asked magistrate Andrew Capell not to convict Pedretti and said the decision had already been a costly one because he had lost his flights to Bali and had to pay for accommodation and travel to Mildura.

But Mr Capell said the fact Pedretti spent $600 on a flight to Bali meant he could have repaid the credit card’s owner.

Pedretti was fined $500 and ordered again to repay the money.

Mr Capell also imposed a conviction.

“It might make it difficult to come back again, too,” he said.

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