But Scott Donaldson, 27, was far from a cold-hearted criminal, a court heard.
He had been directed to the abandoned bike by a pal – and turned to push it back to where he found it when police told him whose it was.
Despite his attempt to disown it, he was charged with theft after admitting he would otherwise have permanently swiped it.
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Prosecutor Sarah Malkinson told magistrates in South Tyneside: “The victim was in a road traffic accident while on her motorcycle.
“She was taken to hospital and the vehicle was recovered by the RAC but left at the roadside.
“The defendant pushed it away from the scene, but a police officer saw him.
“He said that he had taken it to use for himself and that his intention was to use it.”
Ms Malkinson said the vehicle was valued at £1,000 and she asked magistrates to impose a £300 excess charge on Donaldson.
The court was told the defendant, who has learning difficulties, had six previous convictions from eight offences, including a motorbike theft in 2012.
Jason Smith, defending, said: “What happens is that this lady appears to have had an accident and been taken to hospital.
“The vehicle was on the roadside. He was told by one of his mates that there was an abandoned vehicle. He thinks 'scrap'.
“He got up there and he’s wheeled it 200m from the accident scene.
“A police car pulls up and the officer tells him it’s the lady who had the accident.
“Scott says, ‘Ok’, and begins to push it back. There is no loss to this lady, the vehicle is recovered.”
Mr Smith, who contested the level of money requested by the prosecution, added: “Scott has his difficulties.
“He admitted to police that the vehicle was abandoned, and he turned to take it back.”
Magistrates rejected the prosecution costs application against jobless Donaldson, of Blumer Street, Fencehouses, who pleaded guilty to theft.
They sentenced him to a 12-month conditional discharge, with £85 court costs and a £22 victim surcharge.