Motorist praised by judge after photograph of thief led to justice

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A motorist who caught a bike thief by photographing him was given a £200 reward by a judge.

The driver was also given a commendation by Judge Tony Briggs at Teesside Crown Court for his public-spirited action.

The snap was shown to police and an officer recognised William Harrison, 18, from Hartlepool.

Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt told Teesside Crown Court that the motorist saw him take the bike in Seaton Carew in September last year, followed him and pulled in front of him.

Harrison threw down the bike, and the motorist took some photographs of him before returning it to the owner.

He told her that he had the photos, and they were handed over to the police.

The previous day Harrison had been given a community sentence for a joint offence of robbing a paperboy in Hartlepool.

Harrison failed to keep appointments and he was at large for nine months before he was remanded in custody. After two weeks a judge granted him bail.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said: “By a circuitous route he has achieved what was hoped to be achieved last September.”

Judge Briggs said it was an unusual position, adding: “It was not a very good start that the very day after your appearance you went out and pinched a pedal cycle.

“A passing motorist fortunately cornered you and took your photograph which led to your arrest.

“Much to my surprise I shall give you the opportunity of doing unpaid work.”

Harrison, of Lealholm Road, Hartlepool, was given 80 hours unpaid work for breach of the order and theft which he admitted.