A Melbourne baby formula burglar has been denied the chance to return home after admitting his part in a half-million dollar series of heists was to fund his heroin addiction.
Gurwinder Gill, 37, pleaded guilty to 19 charges connected to the theft of $541,318 worth of baby formula and vitamins in a series of commercial burglaries at factories and warehouses across Melbourne last year.
Gill was paid $5000 for his role in the syndicate, which targeted high-value baby formula brands chosen for their resale vale in Asia, particularly China.
The Ardeer man, who has been in custody since his arrest after one of the burglaries in August last year, sought bail in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday but was denied freedom.
His lawyer Amanda Hurst said Gill had became involved to fund a heroin addiction after his wife, in an effort to help him, restricted his access to other funds.
If bailed, he would be able to receive drug treatment and support for depression, Ms Hurst said.
But Magistrate Kate Hawkins was told Gill had been not only receiving drug treatment at the time of his offending, but was also on bail for a similar burglary at the time.
"I have fears he may fall back into that friendship group and heroin addiction and begin offending again," Detective Senior Constable Mel Leeds warned.
Court documents reveal Gill was involved in 10 burglaries between June and August and that during the first, in Point Cook, baby formula and vitamins worth $90,000 were taken.
In another heist at Preston the syndicate took $70,000 of formula and vitamins, while cosmetics and shoes were also stolen in a burglary at Bundoora which netted the group $24,000 worth of products.
They forced entry using power tools, disabling alarm and CCTV systems to give themselves more time, the detective revealed.
Another co-accused, 31-year-old Newport man Hardeep Singh, also admitted his part in the burglaries on Tuesday.
He's charged with eight offences, including burglaries and thefts where $177,318 in goods was stolen.
Singh did not seek bail.
Gill admitted his role after his arrest, when he was also found in possession of heroin, and pointed himself out in footage obtained from some of the break ins.
Ms Hurst said her client was "drug affected through a lot of this offending".
His wife Kamal Gill told the court she would contact police if he was allowed bail and re-started his drug use.
"I want him to stay away from drugs," she said.
"He is really sorry about his doings. He feels guilty about it."
Both Gill and Singh are due to face a pre-sentence plea hearing in the County Court on August 15.