A prolific thief who fronted a police anti-burglary campaign after claiming he had left crime behind has been back in court – for stealing a police bicycle.
Peter Findlay, 34, claimed he took the £1,000 West Yorkshire Police ‘capture bike’ – used by police to snare regular crooks – because he was worried for its security after noticing the lock was weak.
He said he intended to hand it in to police, Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard.
Prosecutor Vincent Barnard said the mountain bike was locked on Eastgate in Leeds city centre on July 16 when Findlay was seen on CCTV riding up to it on another bike.
He said: “He moved his bike next to it, tampered with the lock and broke it and cycled away with the other bike in tandem.”
After being arrested, Findlay told police he was worried about the “cheap” lock being used to secure it.
He told them: “I had concerns for the bicycle and was taking it to the police station in case it was stolen.”
Findlay, of Tilbury Grove, Holbeck, Leeds, has more than 40 previous convictions.
As reported previously in the YEP, after being released on licence from his last prison sentence last November he insisted he wanted to turn his life around.
West Yorkshire Police and the probation service enlisted him to take part in a YouTube video and meet-the-burglar sessions to tell university students how to avoid being burgled.
But last month he was given a 12-month community order for shoplifting from TK Maxx at Crown Point.
He was due to go on trial yesterday (Sept 11) for the bike theft, before changing his plea to guilty.
District Judge Roy Anderson told Findlay: “With your record you can’t afford to commit offences of any sort, let alone offences of dishonesty.”
But he let Findlay walk free from court after giving him a 12-week curfew, from 9pm to 7pm daily.
After the hearing Findlay told the YEP: “I don’t know what I was thinking.”