A boy spotted his stolen mountain bike on sale at a Spalding cycle shop as he walked to the town’s police station to report it missing.
The 13-year-old was given the £100-plus bike for Christmas and it was stolen by Matthew Evans when the teenager left it outside Spalding News, in Market Place, on January 28.
Kate Hartley, prosecuting, said the youngster reported the theft to school staff and they allowed him to go to the police station.
As he passed Tulip Cycles, he saw his bike already on sale for £85.
Police returned to the shop with the boy.
“He said his bike being stolen was upsetting him and he thought his mum was going to be angry with him,” Mrs Hartley told the court.
Evans gave his full name and address to the cycle shop owner and sold the bike to the shop for £20.
Mrs Hartley said the shop owner also felt he was a victim and feared his reputation would be harmed if the police thought he received stolen bikes on a regular basis.
She said the shop owner had inquired where Evans had obtained the bike and he replied it was from his brother-in-law, who ran an exchange shop in Peterborough.
Mrs Hartley said Evans stole a £56 pair of trainers from the Nike Outlet Store at Springfields, Spalding, on the same day and an electric drill worth £99.98 from B&Q in Holland Market, Spalding, on February 6.
She asked for compensation as those items were not recovered.
Evans (31), of Landsdowne Court, Spalding, was given a year’s community order when he admitted three thefts.
He must pay £20 compensation to Tulip Cycles, £56 to Nike Outlet, £99.98 to B&Q and a £60 victim surcharge. There was no order for costs.
Solicitor Mike Alexander, mitigating, said Evans had been drinking more than he normally did because he had been hit by a series of troubles.
He had been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and bowel cancer, his pregnant partner had miscarried and he had lost his accommodation.
“All of these things have caused him to start losing track of his day to day routine,” he said.
Evans recalled the cycle theft – and committed the offence because he was hungry and didn’t have money to buy food – but could not remember stealing the trainers later that day.
Mr Alexander said when asked about the offences, Evans replied: “I am disgusted with myself.”
He said: “This is a man who has a number of issues I suspect will preclude him from doing work in the near future.”