A SERIAL thief who stole a quad bike from a child has avoided a spell in prison.

Matthew Gilligan, of Hundens Lane in Darlington, stole the black Raptor quad bike on Monday, February 17 and pleaded guilty to theft at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court today (Thursday, February 20).

Rachael Dodsworth, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, said the victim had only got the quad bike the day before and had already moved it back into his garden after discovering it in a nearby alley.

Loading article content

She said Gilligan had sworn at the victim’s friend, an 11-year-old boy, when the pair found the 32-year-old taking parts off the bike in his back yard.

The bike was then moved to one of the victim’s friend’s gardens, only for it to go missing again.

It was found to the rear of a property belonging to one of Gilligan’s friends in the Albert Hill area.

Mike Clarke, mitigating, said Gilligan, who has 68 theft offences on his record and is subject to a probation order, had only taken the quad bike on one occasion after finding it in a back alley.

“He has a problem with the misuse of drugs and the court has deemed it appropriate to give him the support he needs,” said Mr Clarke.

“For that support to continue I would ask you to let the existing probation order continue.”

Gilligan received a 12-week prison sentence, which was suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £80 court costs.