Judge in disbelief as 'vomiting' burglar leaves court before hearing

The thieves stole three bike wheels (file image) <i>(Image: Oxford Mail)</i>
The thieves stole three bike wheels (file image) (Image: Oxford Mail)

A trio were caught on CCTV stealing bicycles from garages in a spree in Oxford.

But of the three, only two were in dock at Oxford Crown Court on Friday (January 27) to be sentenced for filching the two-wheelers –the third having left the courthouse before the hearing, claiming he needed to see his doctor after suffering a vomiting fit.

Shortly before issuing a warrant for third man Ben Miller’s arrest, Judge Nigel Daly said with an arched brow: “Given that his record shows he has 27 offences of dishonesty, why should I believe a word he says?”

Later, prosecutor Matthew Knight told the judge the two remaining members of the trio, Torrin-Amar Forbes and Connor Wyatt, were involved in a series of garage break-ins in mid-July 2021 in Cumnor and the surrounding area.

Their spree started in the early July 13, when they were caught on CCTV trying the door handle to a garage in The Glebe.

Later, in the evening, all three were linked to the theft of a bicycle and screwdriver from a garage in Hid’s Copse. The group was identified from CCTV.

Around an hour later – now in the early hours of July 14 – Forbes and Miller were seen on CCTV trying the handle of a house in Delamare Way. Two bikes, a Specialised and a Cannondale, were then stolen from a neighbouring garage.

Within minutes, a Ring doorbell camera picked up Wyatt and Forbes trying a garage door handle on Cumnor Hill.

Another garage door was tried a short distance away. Wyatt and Forbes were seen with the recently stolen bikes.

Mr Knight said that at around lunchtime on July 14, Miller was in contact with a would-be customer about selling the bicycles.

Four days later, on July 18, Forbes was wearing a ‘distinctive hoodie’ when he was seen trying the handle of a garage.

The total value of the three bicycles stolen by the group was £1,100, Mr Knight said. All three men were identified from CCTV.

In a victim personal statement read to the court by the prosecutor, one of the garage owners said he had three young children in the house and had kept word of the burglary from them. “I’m very concerned that my children would not feel safe if they found out,” he said.

All three men had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.

Forbes, 21, was a full-time waiter with only a caution from 2017 on his criminal record. Richard Davies, mitigating, described his involvement as an ‘ill-judged one off’.

Wyatt, 22, was a chef by profession although currently looking for work. In a letter to the judge, he candidly admitted he had broken his victims’ ‘sense of security’ and ‘deserved punishment’.

Judge Daly gave Forbes a 12 month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Wyatt, who has a previous conviction for aggravated vehicle taking, received eight months’ imprisonment suspended for a year with 180 hours of unpaid work and 46 rehabilitation sessions.