A THIEF stole pedal cycles worth thousands of pounds from across Sunderland.
Richard Price admitted stealing five bikes, worth a total of £2,250, from around the city.
The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court and asked for three similar offences to be taken into consideration.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Price admitted stealing a bike worth £700 on February 19 and one valued at £350 a week later.
He also told police he had stolen two bikes, worth £600 each, on February 24 from University of Sunderland buildings and a £300 bike from Tesco in Roker on March 5.
Gerry Armstrong, defending, said he was saddened to see Price in the state he was in.
He said: “Personally, I have represented him for some years and he used to be, when I started out, what was called a ‘jovial rogue’ – a bit of a Jack the lad.
“The mental health team have been looking at him this morning. His distress is due to the fact that he was in a very long-term relationship, but unfortunately last year that relationship broke up.
“It caused not just a problem for him, but problems in the extended family as to what side they took.”
Mr Armstrong added that Price’s family had “ostracised” him and he was living at a care-of address in Eglinton Street, Southwick, with his current girlfriend.
He said: “It has become apparent over the last few weeks that his mental health has deteriorated to the point where now he is in some sort of depression.” The court heard Price had not used the bikes but stored them in an “Aladdin’s Cave” at a neighbour’s house.
Chairman of the bench, Keith Emmerson, sentenced Price to a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Speaking to the Echo after the case, one of Price’s victims, whose bike was stolen from Park Lane, said: “I was very angry that my bike was stolen in a well-lit public place, from a bike rack point, which is patrolled by station attendants.
“I find it audacious that someone would do such a thing in broad daylight, in such a busy area.
“Perhaps there could be a safer place to keep bikes in the city centre.
“At the moment it doesn’t seem like there is anywhere safe in the city to leave them.”