‘Desperate’ teen stole aunt’s bike

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A LAWYER representing a teenager who admitted stealing a bicycle blasted a government department for stopping his benefits.

Andrew Grundy, of Scholes, appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to taking the Mongoose Thrive BMX from outside his aunt’s house in Hindley.

The court heard Grundy, 18, admitted stealing the bicycle in the early hours of the morning on September 16 as he was making his way home from Atherton in order to speed up his journey.

Mike Ardern, prosecuting, said Grundy later went into a Costcutters store and offered to sell the bicycle, but the employees had already been made aware of the theft by the defendant’s aunt and they contacted police.

The court heard that Grundy had his benefits stopped around a month previously, and he also expected to be without income to buy food until November.

Graham Simpson, defending, described his client’s position as desperate and launched a strongly-worded attack on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for stopping his money.

Mr Simpson said: “My client has had an unfortunate childhood due to alcohol problems and the sad death of his father, and he has been pushed from pillar to post. He has now been given long-term accommodation from the local authority, but was sanctioned for not completing enough online job searches at Wigan Life Centre. The way the DWP is using sanctioning of state benefits is disturbing.

“People are given the right to appeal but if they have poor reading and writing skills they will struggle to get an appeal through, while the Citizens’ Advice Bureau is completely overwhelmed.”

The magistrates fined Grundy £50 with a £20 victim’s surcharge, plus sentenced him to a day in custody.