A robber deliberately drove at a cyclist and crashed into him, before his passenger stole and rode off on the £4,000 bike, a court has heard.

Robert Friendship Smith and his accomplice targeted the victim who was riding an electric bike in the Roker Avenue area of Sunderland in May.

As the victim cycled down an alley, Smith, 25, pulled out and crashed a white Vauxhall Insignia into the bike.

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Smith and his front-seat passenger then jumped out of the car and threatened the cyclist, with the victim warned they were in possession of a machete.

The Northern Echo: Robert Friendship Smith Robert Friendship Smith

Fearing for his life, the victim let go of the bike – with the latter riding off on it before Smith drove away in the Vauxhall.

Smith, of West Lea, New Herrington, Houghton-le-Spring was later arrested after being recognised by officers on CCTV.

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The prolific crook, who has 28 previous convictions for 60 offences, later pleaded guilty to robbery at Newcastle Crown Court.

On Tuesday (August 2), he was jailed for three years and nine months.

Detective Constable Melissa Mcleod, of Northumbria Police, said: “We will not tolerate violence on our streets and I am pleased that the seriousness of Smith’s behaviour has been reflected in this custodial sentence.

“He and his accomplice showed a total disregard for the welfare of their victim, driving his car directly at the cyclist before making threats and stealing his bike.

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“Smith has had every opportunity to clean up his act – but has consistently shown he cannot be trusted to live in a lawful society. I hope he uses this time behind bars to think carefully about how his actions can have a detrimental effect on his community.

“I would like to thank the victim in this case for his bravery and cooperation throughout, and hope this reiterates our commitment as a Force to pursue perpetrators and put them before the courts.

“We will continue to do all we can to tackle those who prey on others and work hand-in-hand with the community to help ensure the North East remains as safe as it possibly can be to live, work and visit.”

If you are passionate about fighting crime, why not consider applying to join the Force? Our police officer recruitment programme is now open – visit careers.northumbria.police.uk for more information.

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