Burglar who stole expensive electric bike from charity is jailed | Story from Champnews – Champion Newspapers
A PROLIFIC burglar, who tried to flee from police by swimming across a pond after breaking into a charity-run workshop in Ainsdale, has been jailed for two years.
Jeffrey Dey, 32, who has amassed a staggering 100 previous convictions, ended up back in court on Tuesday, December 21 after being seen riding an expensive electric bike stolen from Mecycle cafe and bike workshop – and he was found with the price tag in his pocket.
The social enterprise, on Station Road, was opened to equip autistic youngsters with skills and the owners say the break-in left the young service-users frightened to go back in case the burglars returned.
Dey and two other men had smashed their way into the building and each rode off on an electric bike, with all three worth a total of £7,749.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the alarm at the premises sounded about 2.40am on May 30 this year after the trio of burglars, all dressed in dark clothing and wearing masks, broke in.
The distressed manager arrived and called the police and three men were seen on electric bikes matching the description of the stolen machines on the nearby Formby by-pass, said Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting.
On seeing police they disappeared into undergrowth leaving behind two of the bicycles. One of the men was caught near Formby Hall Golf Resort but the court heard that he could not be linked to the burglary and was not charged.
About 3.10am Dey was sighted on a green bike going towards Switch Island at Maghull before travelling onto Broom’s Cross Road and near to Back Lane at Lunt.
“He then fell off the bicycle before running away. He ran to a pond and jumped in before swimming and trying to hide in reeds but the police were able to catch him,” said Miss Nemat.
The officers found the bicycle, a Gazelle Ultimate, one of those stolen and Dey had the £2,999 price tag in his pocket.
The three stolen machines were all recovered undamaged.
In an impact statement the Mecycle manager, Vicky Jones, told of her “rage and anger” at the break-in which had impacted on the autistic teenagers who use the premises to gain life skills. They were afraid the intruders might return and she said she feared the youngsters might not want to come back.
The charity has had to introduce extra security measures and staff have had to explain to their users that they are in a safe space, said Ms Jones.
Jailing Dey, of no fixed address, for two years the judge, Recorder David Knifton, QC, said, “This was a despicable offence committed by a habitual criminal.”
The court heard that he has committed 196 previous offences, of which 122 were theft related, including stealing bikes and burglaries, and he had only been released from a sentence for shoplifting a few weeks before his latest offence.
Dey appeared via video link and pleaded guilty to burglary. The judge allowed him to read a letter he had written to the court in which he explained he was a heroin addict.
“There are no excuses for all the crimes I have committed in my life. I am not proud of it, I’m disgusted with myself. I hope one day to turn my life around and make my family proud,” said the dad-of-one.
“I’m a drug addict but that does not give me an excuse for committing crimes nor explain my actions….I’m an idiot for what I have done.
“I want to apologise to the victims and you and realise any punishment I receive will be deserved.”
John Keane, defending, had told the court that Dey has been on remand for 43 weeks and has been on a detoxification course. When he is released he hopes to be a reliable father figure for his young daughter.
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