Teen caught on stolen motorbike after Gumtree seller's shed burgled
© Bruce Benedict 2011
A teenager who stole a motorbike advertised online by an Ipswich resident has been spared jail but ordered to carry out unpaid work in the community.
Giles Francis said he was asked to accompany an acquaintance to the seller's address on May 30 - but only became aware of plans to steal the dirt bike from a locked garden shed when they arrived.
The 18-year-old admitted stealing the Honda CRF150 off-road motorcycle at Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich, this week.
Prosecutor Gareth Hunter said police spotted Francis on the stationary motorbike, shortly after 2am, under the A12 bridge at Capel St Mary.
Francis, who told officers he had run out of fuel and was waiting for a friend, was written up for riding without lights, protective headgear or a registration plate.
As police returned to the nearby station, Francis rode off down the A12 at speed, almost simultaneously with the burglary being reported.
Francis, who was pursued to Dedham and arrested, told magistrates a friend had discovered two motorbikes for sale on Gumtree and had asked if he wanted to earn some money by assisting with transportation.
He said the other male presented him with the Honda CRF150F at the side of the property and rode away on the other motorbike, leaving his with "no choice" but to follow.
At the time of the hearing, no one else had been prosecuted for the burglary and the other dirt bike, worth £795, had yet to be recovered.
Helen Korfanty, representing Francis as duty solicitor, said he was a man of previous good character and fit enough to carry out unpaid work as a punishment for stealing the £1,850 bike, which had since been returned to its owner.
Before sentencing, Francis, of Angel Gate, Harwich, told the probation service he had not realised what was likely to happen until getting close to the victim's address.
Francis called himself a "changed man" since realising the error of his ways and walking away from all friendships likely to land him in trouble again.
He was handed a 12-month community order, with conditions to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.