A LABOURER stole a mountain bike that had been left unattended as part of a police sting, a court was told.

Oliver Verrill found the bike, worth £200, unattended outside Parkgate car park, in Darlington, prosecutor John Garside told Darlington Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Garside side: “The police own the bike and left it for someone to take on October 2.

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“The defendant has been seen loitering next to the bike and ridden away at speed.”

Police arrested 21-year-old Verrill and recovered the bike within the hour, said Mr Garside.

The prosecutor said Verill told officers ‘I am gutted, what a stupid thing to nick’ after being arrested.

Sonny Lawson, for Verrill, said the case arose out of a police sting and an earlier hearing had been adjourned while the legality of the police operation was verified.

He said: “This was an opportunistic offence, the bike was left out in the hope that someone would take it.”

Verrill, of Bedford Street, Darlington, was fined £133, with £100 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.