A RECOVERING drug addict stole the wheels from a marked police bicycle in the hope of selling them to pay off dealers.
An officer returned to the locked-up bike, which was covered in fluorescent police stickers and locked to railings outside a shop, to find both wheels gone
Serial thief Mark Harrison had stolen the wheels to help pay off an old drug debt. He was quickly caught after being captured on security cameras.
Officers found several bike wheels in the yard of the 35-year-old’s home in Baden Street, Hartlepool. But the police bike wheels were not found.
Harrison admitted theft from outside Sainsburys store in Station Lane, Hartlepool, on March 8, at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court.
He was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and pay Cleveland Police £80 compensation.
Town justices passed the “lowest sentence possible” after hearing Harrison had been doing well after giving up drugs.
Douglas I’Anson, from the probation service, told the court Harrison has a long record of offending, with the majority being “unsophisticated” thefts.
He added: “He doesn’t steal to order, but steals to survive.
“In the past he had a terrible drug habit. But he is over that now.
“However, the people who supplied him with drugs are not as friendly as banks. They demand payment and he has these debts to drug dealers.”
Lynne Dalton, prosecuting, said CCTV cameras caught Harrison in the act.
She added: “It was fully marked as a police pedal cycle and was locked to railings.
“Police went to his address and they found seven bike wheel frames in the back yard.”
Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said his client only gets £90 a fortnight in benefits.
He added: “He has co-operated with the police and it is low level.”