Bike thief jailed after crashing car while evading police

Bikes worth almost £3,000 found in car after driver fled on foot

A bungling bike thief who apparently forgot he was driving and not riding when he crashed a car full of stolen bikes has been jailed.

On November 17 last year police on a routine patrol tried to stop Anthony Stephen Copeland in Harrogate. Copeland attempted to drive away, but hit a bollard and then fled on foot

In his car, officers found three bikes worth about £2,750, which had been reported stolen from Harrogate the previous day. The bikes were returned to their rightful owner.

Extensive nationwide enquiries and media appeals were made to locate Copeland, and he was arrested in Manchester by officers from Greater Manchester Police on 27 January 2015 - having again failed to stop and crashing his vehicle.

Copeland, 27, of Farnworth, Bolton, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, two counts of dangerous driving and possessing a class B drug at Manchester Crown Court.

He was sentenced to 15 and 8 months' imprisonment for the driving offences, and 15 months' for the handling offence, to run concurrently.

DC Quita Passmore, of Harrogate CID, said: “I am pleased that Copeland has been handed a significant prison sentence that reflects the serious nature of his offending.

“This case highlights our commitment to tracking down and bringing offenders to justice, and residents can be reassured that we will relentlessly pursue criminals who travel to North Yorkshire intent on committing crime.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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