Callous thief stole 14-year-old boy’s bike in middle of school holidays

B&M in Houghton
B&M in Houghton

A callous thief left a 14-year-old boy without any transport after stealing his bike in the middle of the school holidays.

Anthony Newall, 28, took the £555 mountain bike from outside B&M Bargains in Newbottle Street, Houghton, in August, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Since it has been stolen I haven’t been out and I can’t believe someone would steal my bike from outside a shop.

Victim, 14

The following morning, having sobered up and realised what he had done, he rode it to work and dumped it there, only for someone else to take it, the court was told.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “The complainant in this case is a young man – a schoolboy of 14 years of age.

“He has owned a mountain bike for two years – it’s his pride and joy.

“He had left the pedal cycle in Houghton, outside the front entrance of B&M Bargains.

“Unfortunately it was left insecure.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, given we are here in court, when he has returned, the pedal cycle isn’t there.

“In the middle of the school holidays, a 14-year-old, young chap had his bike stolen and not returned to him.”

Newall was identified from CCTV footage as the person who had taken the bike and was arrested, the court heard.

He told police: “I’m guilty. I was off my head in Houghton.

“I was arguing with my lass and I took the bike.

“It was in my back garden. I rode it to work the next day.

“I didn’t want to get caught with it, so I left it outside my work and the next day it had gone.”

Newall, of Baker Street, Houghton, admitted theft.

A statement from the young victim was read out in court. It said: “The bike was my main way of getting out and about.

“I used it to go out with my mates to socialise.

“Since it has been stolen I haven’t been out and I can’t believe someone would steal my bike from outside a shop.”

Neil Hodgson, defending the unemployed scrap man who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, said: “The defendant apologises for his actions.

“He has a number of medical problems and on this day in question, a bank holiday weekend, he’d had too much to drink and had an argument with his partner.

“He just jumped on the bike and rode off on it.

“The next day his girlfriend has said ‘what is that bike doing in the garden’.

“He apologises to the court, it was stupid. He should have just taken it to the police station.”

Newall was ordered to pay £555 in compensation to the boy.

Chairman of the bench, Alan Richardson, said: “No way should this young lad be without his bike.

“He is 14 years old and you stole his bike. He’s a young lad and it’s clearly affected him.”