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Bike thief who claimed he was victim of crime jailed for 70 days

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A prolific thief who took a bike from a train station only to claim it was then stolen from him has been jailed for 70 days following a British Transport Police and Lancashire Police investigation. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the owner of the bike.
Paul Hargreaves, aged 33, of Stansfield Street, Blackburn, Lancs was sentenced at Blackburn Magistrate’s Court on 23 October after pleading guilty to theft and breaching a community order.
The court heard how on October 1 Hargreaves stole an unlocked bike from outside Preston Station. The black hybrid cycle, originally worth £450, had been left for only a few minutes while its 16 year old owner went to meet his friend from a train.
Hargreaves was later identified by both British Transport Police and Lancashire Police officers who recognised him from previous offences.
On arrest he told police he had stolen the bike to get home to Blackburn and that he had intended to keep it. Once there he locked the bike up in Blackburn town centre only to return to find it had gone. 
PCSO Dax Byrne-Turner, who coordinates cycle theft reduction at railway stations across Lancashire said: “The sentence reflects the fact that Hargreaves is a prolific thief and this was just one of a number of offences that brought him before magistrates.
“He fully admitted taking the bike and his intention to keep it but claimed it was in turn stolen from him. Despite repeated attempts to track down the bike it has never been recovered.
“This was a real blow to the owner of the bike, a 16 year old boy who had only left it unattended for a matter of minutes.
“We regularly carry out free bike marking and security events at stations but the best advice we can give is to always make sure your bike is secured with a good quality lock before leaving it at the station. 
“If you have information relating to the theft or handling of stolen bikes from the railway network call us on 0800 405040 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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