Cleaner’s ciggy ‘mistake’


A would-be pilot who stole cigarettes from an amnesty bin at Queenstown Airport hopes to avoid a conviction.

Luciano Polimeni, 24, a car detailer, of Fernhill, admitted nicking the cigarettes from a Customs amnesty bin on June 3.

Stratford says Polimeni was working as a casual cleaner at the international airport.

Part of his job was to clean the Customs-controlled area.

There’s an amnesty bin in the search area where passengers who have more than 50 ciggies can chuck them if they don’t want to pay the tax.

Stratford says that bin’s tamper-proof, with a combination lock.

But while he was cleaning Polimeni reached in, grabbed cigarettes and handed them to his mate.

He now calls it a “stupid mistake”.

Defence lawyer Sonia Vidal says Polimeni hopes to be discharged because he’s in New Zealand to obtain his pilot’s licence and the conviction could affect the criteria for being a “fit and proper person”.

Judge Richard Russell remanded him to October 31 for that application to be heard.