A COURT has heard how a man took a £6,000 electric mountain bike out for a test ride - and never returned.

Francis Thomas Charlesworth landed himself in the dock after the ‘opportunistic’ theft of the electric bike from a cycling superstore.

The 45-year-old defendant admitted that he stole the bike - worth £6,19.99 - from Wheelbase in Staveley, near Windermere.

South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court in Barrow heard how Charlesworth travelled from his home in Woodfarm Hey, Liverpool, to buy a bike on August 22, having researched the nearest place to buy one on the internet.

The court heard that the defendant intended to buy the bike on finance and was ‘surprised’ when he was offered a test ride.

After he took the bike police stopped Charlesworth in his car for a separate issue and discovered the bike, knowing one had been stolen that day from the Staveley Mill Yard store.

The defendant’s most recent criminal conviction was for common assault in 2018, the court was told.

Solicitor Michael Graham said the theft was ‘opportunistic’ and not planned.

“He had brought some funds with him to pay the deposit and was in the process of completing the finance documents when he was given the chance of a test run," he said.

“It seems temptation got the better of him.

“He took a chance. It was a spur of the moment decision.”

Charlesworth was sentenced to a community order with an eight-week curfew for the offence.

That means he will have to stay at home between 6pm and 8am until November 18.

The defendant was also ordered to pay a surcharge of £95 to fund victim services and costs of £85 for bringing the case to court.

Magistrates rejected the defendant’s offer of paying the money at a rate of £20 a month, pointing out he recently had £200 in his ‘back pocket’ to purchase the bike.

Instead Charlesworth was ordered to pay the money to the court at a rate of £40 per month.