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Seven men arrested and 20 bikes retrieved by police in Brick Lane operation

The Met, City of London and British Transport Police arrested the men on suspicion of handling stolen goods and money laundering

Police in London have arrested seven men today, who are suspected of being part of a criminal bike theft network at the notorious Brick Lane market.

As part of a co-ordinated operation between the City of London, Metropolitan and British Transport Police forces the men, aged between 21 and 49, were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and money laundering and are currently in custody at a central London police station. 

The Brick Lane market stall, police say, is believed to be where stolen bikes are bought and sold at "well below the legitimate price". The 20 bikes retrieved, which all had high value items like Brooks saddles, will be checked for bike security marking or smartwater labelling and officers will attempt to contact their owners.

Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood, of the City of London Police, said: "Today’s arrests show that the trade in stolen bikes will not be tolerated and we are working with our partners to dismantle these businesses.

"I would also like to tell those people that are buying expensive bicycles for a fraction of their value that you could well be handling stolen goods.

"This is a criminal offence and the old adage applies, if the price of a bike seems too good to be true, then it probably is."

Brick Lane, in East London, is notoriously a place where stolen bikes end up. Last month one man found someone attempt to sell his own stolen bike to a stallholder there, and managed to get his bike back.

Blackwood added today's action won't be the last of its kind, and the joint operation on the stolen bike trade will continue in the coming months. He urged anyone with information on the theft of stolen bikes to call 101, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There were 375 bikes stolen in the Square Mile between April 2014 and March 2015. You can register your own bike for free at www.bikeregister.com.

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14 comments

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skidlid | 8 years ago
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Folks, folks, come on, please. You go into a bike shop and buy a brand new bicycle. They take your details and you walk out with your new pride an joy. Every time you go back to that shop or chain of shops, they know who you are and where you live. Ask them for the frame number of the bike you bought and they wouldn't have a clue. This is where the cycle industry HAS to take a leaf out of the motor industries book. All motor vehicles have to have a 17 digit 'Vehicle Identification Number' stamped into them, one visible and one hidden. If bike frame numbers ere actually recorded at the point of sale, it would reduce the theft and increase the return rate of stolen bicycles. 'Marking Schemes' does not do anything more than the frame number already does. How many cycle owners actually have their bicycles insured separately or even know the frame number of their bike? So come on people, lets thwart the thieves and record the details of your bike.

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Steve Garratt | 8 years ago
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Just wondering if my stolen bike, a Marin San Anselmo, Alfine hub geared hybrid, with a then brand new Brooks B17 Copper saddle, passed through the Brick Lane bike laundering mart, back in late 2011...
My fault, NEVER use cable locks, no matter how thick...

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Kadinkski | 8 years ago
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About 10 years ago I had to go to a police station in the area to report my passport lost and I mentioned to the copper then about the (soooo obviously stolen) bikes being sold. He said 'yeah, we know, we're already looking into it mate'

Must have been the bust of the century, what with it being 10 years in the planning and all.

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MKultra | 8 years ago
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The last time they broke up a Brick Lane operation it involved stolen to order Bromptons. The guy running it was a police officer.

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jollygoodvelo | 8 years ago
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Yes, while it's tempting to say "about time too" and "no sh*t Sherlock", at least they are doing something. And although picking up one bike stall and a few dodgy geezers isn't going to stop theft entirely, it's at least starting to disrupt the process.

Now, they could carry on by spot checking every bike on Gumtree for a month, that'd bring results.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers replied to jollygoodvelo | 8 years ago
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Gizmo_ wrote:

at least they are doing something.

That is no excuse and is not an attitude that should ever be acceptable. The police should have acted to ensure that Brick Lane never became "notorious" to begin with. That is is, speaks volumes about their incompetence.

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Bob's Bikes | 8 years ago
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Instead of knocking the police, I say well done and keep up the good work.

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dafyddp | 8 years ago
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The Police should come down heavily on people buying stolen bikes from Brick Lane or car boot sales. Prominent posters should be displayed that emphasise how being busted for handing stolen goods could seriously damage job prospects - I say this because I bet a pound to a penny, that a lot of the people turning blind eyes have otherwise quite comfortable law abiding middle class lives.

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AJ101 | 8 years ago
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At last

I find it really hard to walk up there some Sunday mornings when its so obvious that a bike is stolen that is being sold on the side of the street.

You can spot them a mile off, especially when the seller can't tell you anything about it when you ask.

When you tell them you think they are selling a stolen bike things can get out of hand quickly.

I'm very surprised the police haven't been on this a lot quicker.

Also - the cash exchange type pawnbroker shops in the suburbs - how on earth do they not get done - seeing an Italian classic road bike up for sale for just £400 with pump attached along with seat pack and spare inner tube still in it - you know someone somewhere has just lost their pride and joy.

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Bmblbzzz replied to AJ101 | 8 years ago
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Yep, Those chains like Cashconverters and so on are basically legalised fences. For when Wonga fails.

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crikey | 8 years ago
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I live 300 odd miles away and even I know that Brick Lane = stolen bikes. Another triumph for the Met...

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PaulBox replied to crikey | 8 years ago
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crikey wrote:

I live 300 odd miles away and even I know that Brick Lane = stolen bikes. Another triumph for the Met...

Really? I worked just round the corner for many years and for me Brick Lane has always = Curry.

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congokid | 8 years ago
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A few Met officers (or possibly PSCOs) were registering bikes under the BikeRegister scheme outside Church of Christ the King at Byng Place while I was passing through on my way to the office a few weeks ago. They registered my Brompton for me.

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Alb | 8 years ago
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 41 Only taken them 10+yrs

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