The 51-year-old Karratha man who created a Facebook “vigilante” group has been sentenced to a 10-month community-based order to complete 80 hours of community service. John Hamilton appeared before the Karratha Magistrates Court on March 15 and pleaded guilty to incitement to commit an indictable offence and stealing. He also pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled weapon and incorrect storage of ammunition. The court was told Hamilton created the Facebook group, Consequences 4 Crime, earlier this year and encouraged members to take part in illegal activities including drive-bys and spotlighting of properties along with pulling out fuses in an attempt to tackle crime. On February 20, Hamilton went to a house in Atkinson Way, turned off the property’s water and stole the water meter. A search warrant was executed at his home two days later where the water meter was located along with a gel blaster rifle and more than 300 rounds of incorrectly stored ammunition. Police prosecutor Sgt Leonie James told the court the accused planned to sell the meter for scrap. “The actions taken by the group included pulling fuses, stealing water meters and members were encouraged to let down tyres,” she said. Sgt James said the initials C4C were spray-painted on driveways and members of the group conducted drive-bys and spotlighting of properties. Hamilton told the court the group was started to help minimise crime in Karratha. “Our motto became ‘we can help when police cannot’,” he said. Hamilton said he was not the leader of the group, but the administrator and its public face. He said the gel blaster rifle was a gift from his son before the weapon became illegal and the incorrect storage of ammunition was just “poor housekeeping”. Magistrate Kevin Tavener said part of Hamilton’s role in the group included encouraging illegal acts such as harassing and stealing of water meters. “You were a touchstone for people’s concerns . . . but it was not the way to go about it,” he said. Magistrate Taverner sentenced the 51-year-old to a 10-month community-based order to complete 80 hours of community service and fined him $1500 for the stealing and firearms offences.