HAPLESS bike thief David Birch was caught red-handed thanks to a pair of neon shorts.
The 26-year-old dropped a catalogue of clangers after stealing a 10-year-old’s BMX.
Dozy Birch was spotted carrying out the theft while wearing distinctive orange shorts over his trousers.
If that wasn’t enough, he also dropped his Natwest bank card at the scene.
Birch then sealed his fate after being caught on CCTV taking the bike into Gill Bridge police station to collect some possessions – still wearing the neon shorts.
Birch appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, where he was ordered to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to theft.
Speaking after the hearing, the dad-of-one said: “I just want to say I’m sorry.
“I did not realise it was a kid’s bike.
“I’m now working with the Probation Service doing one-to-one and I’ve got a community order so I can put something back into the community.
“It should be all right for me now. I’ve never been to court in Sunderland for 10 years.”
Prosecutor Rachael Dodsworth told JPs Birch took the bike from where it was chained up and intended to sell it on.
But he claimed it was then taken from him by people he was not prepared to name.
Mrs Dodsworth read out a statement from the schoolboy victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He said: “Having my bike stolen has really upset me and I’m annoyed I won’t have it for the summer holidays.”
However, she added that the bike has since been recovered.
Defending, Gerry Armstrong said: “This is rather a bizarre offence in its own way with very little substance or planning.
“He was watched climbing over the fence to get the bike, police were contacted and a very specific description was given of the person.
“They said he was a young man wearing very distinctive orange Bermuda shorts over his trousers.
“And lo and behold, he rides the bike into Gill Bridge police station.”
A report from the Probation Service said Birch had a long history of offending and spent five months in a young offenders’ institution.
Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Birch, of Otto Terrace, Eden Vale, Sunderland, was also ordered to pay £85 towards court costs.