HEROIC school pupils tackled a bicycle-riding thief after he grabbed a teenage girl’s £600 mobile phone.

The 14-year-old girl was standing at a bus stop with her younger brother after school when 28-year-old Jitesh Patel attempted to ride by and swipe the phone.

Another schoolboy waiting at the stop rushed in and together they grappled the mugger and stopped him from getting away.

A passer-by rushed to help and held Patel against a fence until police arrived.

Bolton Crown Court heard how at around 4pm on April 3, the Bolton School girl was waiting at a nearby bus stop with her brother. She took out her red iPhone and began texting.

Patel cycled past and reached out to grab the phone, worth around £600.

Prosecuting, Duncan Wilcock said: “Very bravely the girl kept hold of the phone and did not allow the defendant to take full control of it.”

Another schoolboy also waiting at the stop then rushed in to help the girl, and a “struggle” ensued as Patel tried to get away. Patel came off his bike and all three fell to the ground, grazing the girl’s hand.

Passer-by Lisa Latona rushed to help the pupils. Mr Wilcock said: “Miss Latona parked her car immediately opposite the bus stop and went over to assist them. She grabbed the defendant and forced him against a fence to keep him detained and she phoned the police.”

More members of public helped to keep him restrained until police arrived.

A victim impact statement from the girl, read by Mr Wilcock, said: “This incident had made me feel very anxious and I am also scared to use my phone again in public.”

She added: “I cannot believe this happened to me. It was broad daylight and there were other school children around. But that did not stop him.”

Mr Wilcock also noted that the girl’s brother has been “shaken up by the events”.

Following his arrest, Patel was found to be in possession of a foil-lined carrier bag used to fool store security devices when tagged items are stolen from shops, the court heard.

At an earlier hearing Patel pleaded guilty to common assault, attempted theft of the mobile phone and going equipped with the bag. Defending, Martin Walsh told the court that Patel had being in employment and had a family life at home until 2018, when he “fell into class A drug use”.

He also noted that Patel suffers from mental health issues, adding: “Things have spiralled quite desperately since then and he needs intervention to divert him.”

Patel, of Carslake Avenue, Bolton, who appeared via video link, was sentenced to a 21-month suspended prison sentence for attempted theft, common assault and carrying the foil lined bag. He must also complete a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 days rehabilitation activity.

Judge Martin Walsh said: “You have a drug problem which the probation service believe you are capable of working with them to address, and there are mental health issues also that can be worked through.”

Patel apologised for his actions.