Two bike thieves from London who carried out a spate of thefts of bicycles at railway stations across the South East of England, including several in Sussex, have each been jailed for 30 months. Another bike thief who operated in East Anglia has received a community order. Meanwhile British Transport Police in Sussex have issued CCTV images as part of an appeal to catch several other people suspected of having stolen bicycles.
Brighton newspaper The Argus reports that Thomas Jeffries, aged 25 and from Romford, and his brother James, aged 23 and from Hackney, would drive from London in the former’s van and steal bikes from railway stations including Hove, Burgess Hill and Three Bridges.
Sentencing the pair, Recorder Kenneth Hamer said: “This was a well organised, systematic theft of bicycles from racks attached to railway stations, to sell on for profit.
“The timescale and the length of travel indicate a large degree of planning. These offences involved not just loss of property, but real inconvenience to the owners.
“Not one word of thought have you given to the owners and your low and thoroughly dishonest acts have no doubt caused them much aggravation and frustration to the victims on learning that their mode of transport, frequently used by them to get to and from work, has been stolen.”
“You knew exactly what you were doing,” he added.
While the pair admitted to having stolen 13 bikes from 11 train stations, Detective Inspector Ashley Cooper of British Transport Police believes they could have been responsible for stealing many more.
“Bicycle theft is quite a large amount of our reported crime and we want people to know we are taking it seriously,” he said.
The scale of that problem has been highlighted by a British Transport Police appeal, again centred on stations in Sussex, based on CCTV images of nine suspects police want to question in connection with cycle theft.
PC Billy Burstow commented: “The officers investigating these nine cases have followed a number of lines of enquiry and circulated these images on police intelligence systems to try and get names for these people, but to no avail so far.
“Now we are asking members of the public to help identify them. If you know any of these people and can tell us who they are, then we want to hear from you.”
The CCTV images appear in the gallery above, and anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference B17/LSA of 2/1/13 as well as the relevant image number from the gallery above.
The details of the various incidents are:
Image 1 – Three Bridges station Police would like to speak to this man after a bike was stolen from the cycle racks at Three Bridges station between 8.30am and 7pm on Wednesday, 8 August.
Image 2 – Bognor station Officers would also like to speak to this man after a bike was stolen from the racks at Bognor station between 8pm on Monday, 30 July and 10pm on Wednesday, 1 August.
Image 3 – Burgess Hill station The whereabouts of this man is sought after a cycle was stolen from Burgess Hill station between 8pm on Monday, 25 June and 12.01am on Tuesday, 26 June.
Image 4 – Angmering station Police believe this man may have information after a bike, which had been left at Angmering station on Saturday, 28 July, was stolen between 7pm and 11.40pm.
Image 5 – Eastbourne station Do you know this man? Officers would like to speak to him after a bike was stolen from the racks at Eastbourne station between 8.05am and 6pm on Tuesday, 11 September.
Image 6 – Barnham station Officers would like to speak to this man and woman after a bike was stolen from Barnham station between 5.30pm and 9pm on Wednesday, 19 September.
Image 7 – Horsham station The whereabouts of these men is sought after a bike was stolen from Horsham station between 7.50am on Monday, 1 November, and 5.45pm on Tuesday, 2 November.
Image 8 – Horsham station Police would like to speak to this man after a bike was taken from Horsham station between 7.45am and 6.50pm on Tuesday, 6 November.
Image 9 – Haywards Heath station Do you know this man? Officers believe he may have information after a bike was stolen from Haywards Heath station on Monday, 10 September between 8am and 6.45pm.
PC Burstow added: “Sadly bicycles are a popular target for thieves but there are lots of things people can do to make sure their property is adequately marked and secured.
“It’s important to remember to register your bike and ensure a solid lock is used to secure it. If a bike is adequately marked, it makes it much easier to identify and therefore helps reduce the risk of becoming a victim of bike theft.
”BTP officers regularly conduct cycle crime awareness surgeries at stations across Sussex to offer crime prevention advice and identify the top locations for bike theft, targeting them through covert and overt policing operations to catch would-be offenders in the act.
“We will continue to work closely with train operating companies to tackle cycle crime.”
The value of such appeals was demonstrated by another serial railway station bike thief being was given a 12-month community order sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £850 costs, £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge after being found guilty at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on four counts of stealing a bicycle.
The thefts, carried out by Ryan Richardson, took place at Huntingdon railway station between July and October last year.
Sergeant Roy McMichael of British Transport Police explained: “Following our media appeal, numerous people called us with information and a name, allowing us to identify and track down Richardson in connection with the thefts.
“After his arrest we checked our database of cycle thefts and Richardson was charged with a total of four offences.
“His actions caused enormous inconvenience and genuine upset to the victims, who were not only hit financially, but were forced to make alternative arrangements for travelling to and from their homes until they had replacement cycles.
“I’d like to pass my thanks to the members of the public who came forward with information because it was as a direct result of their help that we were able to quickly identify and arrest Richardson,” he added.
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.