AN Ellesmere Port man who stole a 13-year-old's £500 bike later looked to make amends by handing it in at a police station.

Robert Mathew Fagan, 48, of Percival Road, pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, July 19 to stealing the pedal cycle.

Magistrates ordered Fagan – currently on a community order – to complete 70 hours unpaid work and pay £50 compensation.

Prosecuting, Rob Youds said the 13-year-old's mountain bike – a Christmas gift – was left outside a shop when it was stolen.

Since the theft, which happened in Ellesmere Port on June 16, Fagan had handed in a mountain bike to the police lost property system, and enquiries were ongoing to check if this was the bike which had been stolen.

Fagan had 38 previous convictions for dozens of offences, 16 of which were for theft and dishonesty.

He was in breach of a 12-month conditional discharge.

Defending, Mark Evans said Fagan had been in an on-off volatile relationship with his partner.

On the day they had had a row and as Fagan had gone past the bike, he stole it to get out of the situation.

Fagan had since gone to the person who ended up possessing the bike to buy it off them and return it at the police station.

"He has tried to correct his ill deed, as it were," Mr Evans told the court.

Mr Evans added Fagan had shown remorse and, while his record was "not ideal", he had struggled with different difficulties and had tried to turn things around.

The defendant had seen a GP, was on medication, had left his partner and was building bridges with his family.

Mr Evans said: "He looks much, much better than usual. There were times, particularly when coming to court, you would think he would not have much longer to live."

A probation report heard Fagan was engaging well, was open and honest, but had continued to misuse drugs.

Chair of magistrates Stuart Clarke told Fagan: "We understand there are improvements in your life recently; we ask you to continue that work with probation.

"We ask you to pay £50 compensation to the young gentleman who lost his bike."

As well as the compensation and unpaid work, Fagan must pay £85 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.