A CYCLIST was apparently repairing a flat tyre when a police patrol came across him late at night, a court heard.

George Henry Quarmby was in possession of a large screw driver when he was spotted supposedly working on his bike, on a roadside near the Blacksmith’s Arms in Low Pittington, near Durham, late on September 21.

Durham Crown Court was told the officers were responding to a call from a concerned resident who confronted a man acting suspiciously near bungalows in Park House Gardens, in nearby Sherburn Village, a short time earlier.

Loading article content

He tried to explain away his actions by telling the resident he was thirsty and seeking a glass of water.

Quarmby, 35, denied a charge of going equipped for burglary or theft, saying he was merely out cycling the few miles between his home in Langdale Street, in Hetton-le-Hole, and Durham.

He claimed the ‘flat’ developed as he was making his way home, having taken a route across fields, and he had the screw driver with him in case of such an eventuality.

But a jury returned a ‘guilty’ verdict following a two-day trial at the court last month.

Quarmby was not represented at the sentencing hearing.

Judge Christopher Prince asked for his opinion as to the appropriate sentence, and he responded: “That’s up to you.”

Jailing him for two years, Judge Prince told Quarmby: “The jury found you went out that night to steal.

“I’m satisfied you intended to break into one of those bungalows near to where you were found.

“It would have been obvious to you that they were occupied by the elderly and infirm.

“You would have known those people would almost certainly have been at home at that time.

“It’s for those reasons that I regard this as a serious case of going equipped.”