Police have issued an appeal to find a £12,000 Team Sky bike that was stolen from a shop in Leeds by a man who believed he was one of the favourites to win the Tour de France.
Patrick Chapman, from Pudsey, admitted taking the bike from a display at the Paul Smith fashion store in the Victoria Quarter, Bradford magistrates were told on Monday.
The theft happened last Friday – the day after the Grand Depart opening ceremony in Leeds and the day before the race got under way.
The court heard 37-year-old Chapman, of Lowtown, Pudsey, had mental health problems and was under the care of a psychiatrist.
Sajid Majeed, mitigating, said his client had attended court in Leeds on the same day as the theft and had become confused after he left.
“He was thinking various things,” said Mr Majeed. “He thought the country had been invaded and was trying to fight people off on behalf of his country.”
Mr Majeed said Chapman then thought it was the Tour de France, and added: “He was of the view he was a main person in the Tour de France, who was a leading runner in the race.
“He saw the bike and because he thought he was a favourite in the Tour de France, he took it.”
Chapman rode the bike but hid it in a bush when he saw police, said Mr Majeed, who added: “Ten minutes later he returned and it was gone.”
PC John Carter, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Investigations, said: “The stolen bike is a black Pinarello Dogma F8 that is an exact replica of the Team Sky bikes ridden in the Tour de France and has the Sky logo on it. It is made of carbon fibre and worth about £12,000 and was one of two bikes bought by the shop as display items.
“It is very distinctive and we would like to hear from anyone who has been offered a bike like this for sale or knows its current whereabouts. Bikes of this technical specification and high cost are relatively rare and are generally only used by serious cyclists so it will stand out.”
Chapman, who also pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of cannabis, was due to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Anyone with information about the bike is asked to contact PC Carter at Elland Road via 101 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.