An opportunistic thief snatched a bicycle from Wigan town centre after prying apart its lock with a pair of bolt cutters, a court heard.
The 46-year-old, of Poolstreet in Poolstock, was caught riding the bike days later and admitted to the theft in a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that, at around 1pm on June 15, Paul Bunting cycled into Wigan and locked his mountain bike close to an amusement arcade on the corner of Standishgate and Crompton Street.
He went shopping, and was stunned to find his bike had been stolen when he returned at around 4pm.
CCTV cameras had spotted picked up a male approaching the bike, removing some bolt cutters from a bag and breaking the security lock, before hopping on the bike and riding away.
Three days later, when police apprehended Brown after spotting him riding the same bicycle, he told officers that he had just “borrowed it from a friend.”
But prosecutor Tess Kenyon revealed to the court that, at the time of his arrest, Brown was carrying the same bag as the one in which the suspect was seen carrying the bolt cutters.
Closed circuit television camera images from a town centre shop, captured on the same day as the theft, also showed Brown carrying the bag and wearing the same clothing as the suspect.
Defending, Karen Moorfield told the magistrates that Brown happened to have the bolt cutters in his bag at the time the offence took place.
“By chance, he sees the bike and seizes his opportunity” she said.
Ms Moorfield also revealed that her client had a history of drink and drug issues which had been blamed for his offending.
The bike, which was valued at £330, was recovered by the police and returned to Mr Bunting.
Brown was given a nine-month community order, comprising six months of drugs rehabilitation and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
He must also pay a £120 fine, £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of the same amount.