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Police uncover three-year conspiracy involving fake eBay and Gumtree accounts

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.

11 comments

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andybwhite [248 posts] 1 year ago
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"had 52 convictions for 101 previous offences"

pity we no longer have the option of "transportation"  14

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Wolfshade [162 posts] 1 year ago
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Obvious comment:

Of course he would have got less if he had just murdered the cyclists by car rather than stealing their bikes. Thank goodness our justice system has sensible priorities.

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mrmo [2016 posts] 1 year ago
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He isn't the only one, too many bikes being nicked in Cheltenham, I am sure the police know who the offenders are. Just a matter of catching them.

I seem to recognise being warned of this person over a year ago, make of that what you will.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 1 year ago
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I honestly don't understand how an individual aged 37 can actually clock-up 50-odd convictions.

Why didn't they just lock the fucker up, several years ago, and throw away the key?

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earth [255 posts] 1 year ago
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37 years of age and he is still pinching peoples bikes. What a waste of skin.

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DrJDog [294 posts] 1 year ago
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A 50 strikes and you're out system would be nice. No one could clock up that many accidentally.

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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I can't imaging clocking up even 3 convictions without really trying to, as this is England, not Florida.

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vbvb [525 posts] 1 year ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

I honestly don't understand how an individual aged 37 can actually clock-up 50-odd convictions.

Why didn't they just lock the fucker up, several years ago, and throw away the key?

Not all offences carry custodial penalties. Maybe he's just knocking wing mirrors off cars. He's barely clocking up 2 strikes a year over 20 years.

We didn't lock him up and throw the key away because we are unwilling to vote for the higher taxes that such a policy would require, same £reason we don't have a best-of-its-type justice and social services system that catches and fixes people with problems early before they steal thousands of bikes.

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gb901 [149 posts] 1 year ago
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What a total dirt bag! Should be locked up and the key thrown away, but, no doubt the bleeding heart liberals will hold his upbringing or society at fault for his actions?

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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vbvb wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:

I honestly don't understand how an individual aged 37 can actually clock-up 50-odd convictions.

Why didn't they just lock the fucker up, several years ago, and throw away the key?

Not all offences carry custodial penalties. Maybe he's just knocking wing mirrors off cars. He's barely clocking up 2 strikes a year over 20 years.

We didn't lock him up and throw the key away because we are unwilling to vote for the higher taxes that such a policy would require, same £reason we don't have a best-of-its-type justice and social services system that catches and fixes people with problems early before they steal thousands of bikes.

As much as I despise what this guy has done, I'm not prepared to support in any way shape or form the prison industrial complex, or return to days of throwing people onto ships to transport the problem elsewhere.

No-one has asked why this guy is like this. People don't get like this without reason and it would probably be cheaper to deal with the reason than the cost of this guys constant recidivism.

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rliu [34 posts] 1 year ago
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It's a bit too easy for people to suggest 'why don't you just stop committing crimes', someone can find themselves in that spiral with no way out by an early age, as in this jobs market any employer would turn down someone with a conviction, no matter how minor, straight off the bat. And with the benefit sanctions at the moment I can certainly see how someone in that position would be pushed towards resorting to repeat offending.
But of course that was too much of a bleeding heart liberal thing to do wasn't it, aiming to carry out some kind of analysis of why crime happens in society.