Man fined after 'aggravated theft' of Exmouth bus

PUBLISHED: 14:28 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:28 31 August 2017

Exeter magistrates court. Ref exe 01-17TI 4925. Picture: Terry Ife

Exeter magistrates court. Ref exe 01-17TI 4925. Picture: Terry Ife

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Joshua Conabeare was sentenced to pay £100 in damages compensation after stealing a bus from Exmouth Bus Station.

A 21-year-old man who admitted stealing a double-decker bus from Exmouth town centre has been told to pay £100 in compensation.

Joshua Conabeare, aged 21, of Hamlin Close, Tiverton Canal, Tiverton, pleaded guilty at Exeter Magistrates Court to aggravated vehicle taking. He also admitted to driving while disqualified, possessing cannabis, using a vehicle without third party insurance on August 9, 2017, and to using threatening or abusive language on August 8, 2017.

Magistrates heard how Conabeare’s actions were a ‘moment of stupidity’.

Conabeare was sentenced to complete a spoken skills workshop and to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also told to pay £100 compensation to Stagecoach for damage done to the double-decker bus.

In sentencing, the chair of the bench said: “The aggravated vehicle taking we consider to be a serious issue due to the nature of the incident.”

The court heard how in the early hours of July 1, 2017, a Stagecoach double-decker was stolen from Exmouth bus station.

Responding to reports of a collision at the Imperial Way and Gypsy Lane junction, police found a crashed bus had been abandoned.

Lindsay Baker, prosecuting, said: “The bus appeared to try to turn into Gypsy Lane and collided with a set of traffic lights.”

The court also heard how, on August 9, 2017, police officers in a marked patrol car followed a black Volkswagon Golf, being driven by Conabeare. The vehicle was uninsured.

Conabeare was arrested in the Marpool Crescent area of Exmouth when an officer on foot with a police dog discovered the car nearby and also a bag holding 0.36 grams of cannabis.

On August 20, 2017, Conabeare was again arrested for anti-social behaviour in Exmouth town centre.

In mitigation, the court heard how Conabeare, who has struggled with anxiety and depression, accepted that stealing the bus was a dangerous offence.

The court heard he was ‘horrified’ when he realised what he had done.

Rob Jacobs, defending, said: “He did board the bus and it was open with the keys in it.

“It was too much of a temptation.”

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