Alcoholic stole £500 bicycle in Hartlepool then swapped it for eight cans

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A 25-year-old alcoholic who drinks 18 or 20 cans of lager a day stole a bicycle which he exchanged for another eight cans.

Gary Cooper, who has dozens of previous offences on his record, snatched the £500 bike from outside a pharmacy, Teesside Crown Court heard.

I have a deep sense of despair to hear you are drinking 18 or 20 cans of lager a day and that’s after you’ve embarked on treatment.

Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe QC

“The owner had lent the bike to a friend,” said Rachel Masters, prosecuting. “It was outside Clayfields Pharmacy in Oxford Road, Hartlepool, when it was taken.

“Cooper was arrested after a police and community support officer recognised him from CCTV footage. Cooper told police he could not remember what he had done that day but he conceded it was him on the footage.”

Cooper, of Chester Road, Hartlepool, admitted theft on October 27, and breach of a suspended sentence imposed for affray.

Ms Masters added: “He has previous convictions for 50 offences, mostly dishonesty and public disorder.”

Jim Withyman, defending, said Cooper ‘couldn’t complain’ if his suspended sentence was activated.

“A prison sentence would punish him,” added Mr Withyman. “But it wouldn’t do anything to tackle his drink problem.

“Mr Cooper is seeking help with that. He has a young child, and he has the support of his partner who is expecting another child.”

Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe QC, sentenced Cooper to an 18-month community order, an alcohol treatment programme of six months, 25 days of rehabilitation and a six-month curfew.

He told Cooper: “I have a deep sense of despair to hear you are drinking 18 or 20 cans of lager a day and that’s after you’ve embarked on treatment.

“You have a young family who don’t need you getting into trouble all the time.

“I am going to give you a chance. Something must be done about your drinking, and now is the time to do it.”