A prolific thief who stole a bicycle from Preston railway station has been jailed for 70 days.
Paul Hargreaves stole the unlocked bike from outside station and later claimed it had been stolen from him. The black hybrid cycle, originally worth £450, had been left for only a few minutes while its 16-year-old owner went to meet his friend from a train.
Hargreaves, 33, of Stansfield Street, Blackburn, was later identified by both British Transport Police and Lancashire Police officers who recognised him from previous offences.
On arrest he told police he had stolen the bike to get home to Blackburn and that he had intended to keep it. Once there he locked the bike up in Blackburn town centre only to return to find it had gone.
PCSO Dax Byrne-Turner, who coordinates cycle theft reduction at railway stations across Lancashire said: “The sentence reflects the fact that Hargreaves is a prolific thief and this was just one of a number of offences that brought him before magistrates. He fully admitted taking the bike and his intention to keep it but claimed it was in turn stolen from him. Despite repeated attempts to track down the bike it has never been recovered.
“This was a real blow to the owner of the bike, a 16 year old boy who had only left it unattended for a matter of minutes. We regularly carry out free bike marking and security events at stations but the best advice we can give is to always make sure your bike is secured with a good quality lock before leaving it at the station. If you have information relating to the theft or handling of stolen bikes from the railway network call us on 0800 405040 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”