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Defence lawyer says thief "didn't like committing burglaries"...

Bike thieves aren't usually the brightest bulbs in the shop, but the excuse presented by a thief in Oxford has to rank as one of the most ludicrous ever.

Alex Walker, 33, initially explained the presence of footprints matching his shoes at the scene of a burglary by telling police he sometimes lent his shoes to friends.

Pete Hughes of the Oxford Mail reports that Walker eventually admitted stealing a racing bike, MacBook computer and jewellery worth a total of just under £4,000 from a home in Oxford in October last year.

Despite saying that he “did not like committing burglaries”, he was sentenced to three-and-a-half-years in prison.

Naomi Perry, prosecuting, said the homeowner had returned from holiday to find her window smashed in and the valuables gone.

Walker’s DNA was found in a blood smear at the scene.

Defending Walker, Lucy Tapper said her client was dealing with drug problems, and told the court: “He said he didn’t like doing burglaries and felt bad about doing them.”

Judge Zoe Smith reminded Walker he had 41 pervious convictions.

She told him: “You are a prolific burglar.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.