Serial criminal jailed after deliberately driving into a cyclist in Sunderland

Robert Friendship Smith was jailed for three years and nine months. Credit: Northumbria Police

A serial criminal has been jailed after deliberately driving a car at a cyclist before his passenger stole and rode off on the £4,000 bike.

Robert Friendship Smith and his accomplice targeted the victim who was riding an electric bike in Sunderland last May.

As the victim cycled down an alley in the Roker Avenue area, Mr Smith, 25, pulled out and crashed a white Vauxhall into the bike.

Mr Smith and his front seat passenger then jumped out of the car and threatened the cyclist saying they had a machete.

Fearing for his life, the victim let go of the bike and the passenger rode off on it before Smith drove away in the Vauxhall.

Mr Smith, of West Lea, New Herrington, was later arrested after being recognised by officers on CCTV.

The repeat offender, who has 28 previous convictions for 60 offences, pleaded guilty to the robbery at Newcastle Crown Court.

On Tuesday 2 August, he was jailed for three years and nine months.

Detective Constable Melissa Mcleod, of Northumbria Police, said: "We will not tolerate violence on our streets and I am pleased that the seriousness of Smith’s behaviour has been reflected in this custodial sentence.

"He and his accomplice showed a total disregard for the welfare of their victim, driving his car directly at the cyclist before making threats and stealing his bike.

"Smith has had every opportunity to clean up his act – but has consistently shown he cannot be trusted to live in a lawful society. I hope he uses this time behind bars to think carefully about how his actions can have a detrimental effect on his community.

"I would like to thank the victim in this case for his bravery and cooperation throughout, and hope this reiterates our commitment as a Force to pursue perpetrators and put them before the courts."