Officers called for air support to catch a thief who took off with two motorbikes worth £1,600.
Mathew Sidwell, of Greenvale Avenue, Sheldon, has been jailed after he stole the two vehicles and dumped them in woods near Broadwell Road in Olton on July 30.
The 24-year-old pleaded guilty at Solihull Magistrates Court last Thursday to two counts of theft and possessing cannabis.
Prosecutor Colin Heald said a police helicopter was deployed following a report that a Honda moped had been taken from outside an address in Broadwell Road.
“The victim said he was approached by two males making enquiries about his moped,” Mr Heald said.
“Shortly after he hears his alarm and sees the two males taking off with the vehicle.”
The helicopter managed to locate Sidwell’s whereabouts by following the exhaust smoke from the stolen bike into the woods, Mr Heald told the court.
The defendant was arrested at a nearby address soon after, where he was also found with a ‘small amount’ of the class B drug.
A search of the woods also uncovered another Honda motorcycle, which had been taken from outside a shop in Marston Green.
The defendant’s solicitor, Hassan Mohammad, said his client, whose girlfriend is pregnant, had ‘desperate financial problems’.
“He accepts responsibility. It is not as though there was a police chase as such and there was no dangerous driving involved - my client says he spent most of the journey with the bike on foot,” said Mr Mohammad.
Sidwell received 20 weeks in prison - including four weeks for each theft - and no separate penalty for possessing cannabis.