Don't miss a story sign up to Midweek Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Penny farthing thief spared jail

14:38 09 April 2014

Exeter Magistrates Court

Exeter Magistrates Court

Archant

A Honiton man has avoided jail for stealing a penny farthing on Christmas Day and riding it home – 14 miles away.

Tipsy Robert Bastin stole the old-fashioned bike from the garden of a house in Honiton and pedalled all the way back to Exeter where he was living at the time.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court gave the 20-year-old an 18-month community order with supervision and was ordered to undertake the thinking skills programme.

The court heard he had enjoyed a Christmas drink with his brother when he realised he could not get home on Christmas night and was stranded.

After making it home Bastin then decided to sell the £350 penny farthing on E Bay - but it was the police who ‘bought’ it as they investigated the theft of the old fashioned bike.

Defence lawyer Peter Woodley told Exeter magistrates court:”He was trying to get home. He had had a Christmas Day drink with his brother and it looked like a good idea.

“But a penny farthing is not the easiest thing to return to its owner.

“He was in drink. He saw the back wheel sticking out of a bush, bizarrely not the larger front wheel. He pedalled it to Exeter. At that time of year, Christmas night, no one noticed. It was quite Dickensian.

“Stupidly he tried to sell it.”

Jobless Bastin put it on E Bay two weeks later and it was the police who ‘secured’ it and bought it and returned it to its owner.

On his e Bay listing he claimed ‘not really my thing, prefer my unicycle’.

And he said he had only used it three times since new.

Police saw the listing and successfully bid £75 for it - the penny farthing had cost owner Dale Trott £350.

He accepted the bid and insisted on cash and the ‘buyer’ collected it from his home – and he was nabbed and bike returned to Mr Trott.

Bastin did not say whether he rode the penny farthing along the main A30 dual carriageway between Honiton and Exeter. But he was also in trouble for taking a motor bike along the same road and going through a red light and No Entry sign as police tried to stop him.

Bastin, of Honiton, admitted stealing the old bike which he did while on bail for other offences. He also admitted aggravated vehicle taking on December 6.

Exeter Magistrates Court heard that Bastin was riding a much more powerful Kawasaki motor bike at 5am on the A30 near Exeter airport at speed - 68mph in a 50mph zone.

Prosecutor Philip Sewell said police saw his and he was riding in an ‘erratic manner and was wobbling’.

They could not pursue him down the No Entry road but he was later arrested.

Police did not pursue him because they felt it would be unsafe to do so but Bastin was arrested but denied any offences. But he was trapped when police found his clothes and DNA from his motor cycle helmet that he wore.

Mr Woodley said the aggravated vehicle taking offence happened at 5am when the main road was ‘relatively clear but said it was not the ‘worst case of excessive speed’ or dangerous driving.

The solicitor said:”He went out for a drive and used the bike. He wasn’t familiar with it and wobbled a couple of times. He rode through a red light and a No Entry sign at excessive speed – but it was a quiet time of day. He was not being pursued by the police.”

He said the homeless and jobless labourer was not coping with life over Christmas after losing his job and splitting up from his partner and young child.

“He had no money and was not thinking straight,” said Mr Woodley who said the court had the power to imprison him for a maximum of 12 months.

He said Bastin was stressed and ‘acted impulsively and stupidly’.

Bastin was also banned from the roads for 18 months, ordered to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and told to pay the £75 compensation the police paid for the penny farthing

Other News Stories

12:10
Exeter Crown Court.

A Honiton man has been ordered to do unpaid community work after he broke an ASBO by getting drunk and insulting a barmaid.

Read more
11:30

Coffee#1, which recently opened a shop in Sidmouth, wants its Honiton branch to be in combined space at 125 High Street and Lace Walk arcade.

Read more
11:26
Ladies with their spring posies

Ingrid learns how to create seasonal posies

Read more
07:48
Lyme lifeboat crew members at last year's Blessing of the Boats. Picture: RICHARD HOROBIN

Big turnout expected at the annual harbourside service

Read more
Honiton and District Lions president Steve Guilbert presents a cheque for £1,500 with fellow Lions to Val Royle-chairman of TRIP and representatives this week. Ref mhh 16-16SH 1562. Picture: Simon Horn

The event, held at the end of February, was organised and put on at The Beehive community centre by Honiton and District Lions Club.

Read more
10:32
Graham Booker. Picture: Irving of Exeter.

A Sidmouth churchwarden, found guilty of pushing over an 85-year-old pensioner and kicking him as he lay on the ground, has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:30
St John's school's new director of music Clive Salmon is pictured with year four students this week. Ref shs 15-16SH 0405. Picture: Simon Horn

A keyboardist who performed on a charity recording of a David Bowie classic has taken the top music job at St John’s School.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

The Rotary Club of Lyme Regis has donated £500 to Autism Wessex.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:09

Voters will be going to the polls next week to choose the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:59
Seaotn Men's Probus Club on their trip to the motor museum

Members visit the Haynes Motor Museum to see the vintage cars

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications