A HEROIC neighbour followed burglars on his bicycle after he spotted them as they stole a pensioner’s car.

Jason Holden became suspicious when he saw two men pushing his 61-year-old neighbour’s Peugeot 206 down Bromwich Street, The Haulgh just after 7pm on June 19, Bolton Crown Court.

Denise Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, told how the car had been left, unused, on the woman’s drive since February because she suffered from ill health.

But on the evening of the theft she was asleep in her semi-detached house when 41-year-old drug addict Jason Baxendale and another man broke into the property.

They smashed a window and stole her car keys and 32 inch television, which they loaded into the car boot.

But they could not start the vehicle, which was also fitted with a steering lock, so, Baxendale, while his accomplice steered, pushed the car down the road.

Mr Holden spotted them, asked what they were doing and did not believe the thieves when they said they had just bought the car.

So instead he got on his bicycle and followed the car until Strawberry Hill Road when the two men abandoned the Peugeot, which is valued at £2,500, and tried to walk away.

Mr Holden called to a passerby to ring the police and grabbed hold of Baxdendale, who did not resist and was arrested when officers arrived. Baxendale’s accomplice got away.

Baxendale, a father-of two, from Sharnbrook Walk, Tonge Moor, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft.

Nicholas Ross, defending, said Baxendale began taking illegal drugs aged 11, but had managed to beat his addiction until last year when he turned to heroin after the breakdown of his 20 year relationship.

He added that, although he has previous convictions for theft, burglary is out of character and he had not realised the owner was at home when he broke it.

Mr Ross said: “He is visibly ashamed and through me he wishes to express his apology to the victim.

“It was a dreadful shock for him to find out a woman was asleep in the house. He is profoundly sorry.”

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Baxendale to two years in prison telling him that the burglary was a “serious development” in his previous record of acquisitive crime.