A THIEF who stole a bike from outside a university building was caught by a trap laid by police.

Aidan Stoner stole a bike from near Brighton University’s Cockroft Building in Moulsecoomb on February 11 2018, not knowing police had placed it there as a trap and fitted it with a tracker.

The tracking device was activated just after 5.30pm and the unemployed 25-year-old, of Lewes Road in Brighton, was then tracked to a house in Gloucester Street.

After being investigated he was arrested on March 8.

Stoner appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to theft. He was given a 12 month conditional discharge as well as a total fine of £125.

The “bait” bike was placed as part of Operation Ensnare, an on-going Sussex Police initiative launched in September 2017.

A Sussex Police spokesman said that in its first three months, reports of pedal cycle thefts dropped by 48 per cent across the city.

He added that in east Brighton, thefts were down by nearly three quarters over the same period.

Sussex Police have asked anyone with information about offenders or who wishes to report a theft to do so online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Ensnare.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.