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Man stole his friend's motorbike and crashed it before telling police he had been kidnapped
A COURT heard how a young man’s life “hit rock bottom” after he took a friend’s motorbike without permission, crashed it and told police he had been kidnapped.
The incident led to 19-year-old James Chappell missing out on a job, running out of money and being kicked out of the house he had been living in with his brother in Whitton Village near Stockton.
Prosecutor Jonathan Bambro told Darlington Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, September 3) that Chappell had been drinking with a female friend in Darlington on August 23 when he woke early and decided to take her Suzuki 125cc motorbike for a ride.
Chappell, who does not have a driving licence, crashed the bike on High Ridge in Whitton Village and wrote the machine off.
Mitigating, Laura Moorby said Chappell had not been in a good frame of mind when he took the bike but offered “no reason or excuse” for doing it other than he wanted to get some fresh air.
She added: “He admitted that he did give police what he called a ‘cock and bull’ story about being kidnapped, but that was only for a few minutes then he fully admitted what he had done.”
Ms Moorby explained how Chappell had been on trial at a joinery firm with a “real opportunity” for full-time employment but he was dropped after the company found out about the offence.
She said: “Mr Chappell didn’t get his final pay cheque so he couldn’t afford to pay his brother the rent he owed, so he finds himself homeless and living in a B&B.
“His girlfriend, who he was having relationship problems with at the time of the offence, is now pregnant with his child.
“He finds himself homeless, jobless and with a child on the way.
“He describes himself as reaching rock bottom.”
Chappell, who gave his father’s address - Grasmere Road in Darlington - in court, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and using a vehicle without a licence and insurance.
After reading a probation report, magistrates sentenced him to a six-month community order with 40 hours supervision and ordered him to pay £600 compensation for the motorbike.
They also endorsed banned him from driving for 12-months and endorsed his future drivers’ licence with six penalty points.
As he left the courtroom, Chappell told magistrates that he was “extremely sorry” for what he had done.