A Cheltenham man has been jailed for 32 months for his part in a scheme to steal bikes to order and sell them via fake accounts on eBay and Gumtree.
Mark Sheridan, aged 37, had pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court to conspiring to handle stolen goods and conspiring to defraud members of the public, reports the Gloucestershire Echo.
In June, his partner in crime, 36-year-old Danny Sheerin, was jailed for 26 months on the same charges, while Sheerin’s girlfriend, Michelle Hyett, aged 32, received a nine month sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting money laundering. Sheridan failed to turn up at that sentencing hearing.
Police established from a laptop seized from Sheerin that the trio had made at least £10,600 from their scheme, which went for three years until June 2013, but the court was told that the actual sum could be as much as £40,000.
George Threlfall, prosecuting, said: “Sheridan was arrested following a meeting after a stolen bike was advertised on Gumtree before it was even stolen. Police seized a laptop computer which showed eBay and Gumtree accounts with a considerable number of stolen items on.”
Defending Sheridan, who had 52 convictions for 101 previous offences, Joe Maloney said he had missed the hearing in June because he was out of work, drinking to excess and sleeping rough.
Sentencing him, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said: “You have been coming to this court for a long time – you are too familiar. You could find your way into that dock blindfolded.
“It is time to stop. You have committed endless offences of dishonesty. When it came up to turning up to sentencing you ducked it. Your life had got out of control.
“I often tell defendants they are at a crossroads, but you are over the crossroads and over a cliff long ago – it is a case where you need to pull yourself out of the water.
“These bikes were obviously being stolen to order.
“You are a marked man, a prolific offender and I’m afraid all the judges will know.”
Sheridan said: “Hopefully you won’t see me again.”
The judge responded: “Hopefully we won’t. We will take the reserved sign off the dock.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.