A Bromsgrove man has been handed a 14 month jail sentence after stealing £10,000 worth of bikes from commuters, which he then sold online. Two other men who carried out some of the thefts were also sentenced at Worcester Crown Court.
The Bromsgrove Advertiser reports that 23-year-old Shane Bradley took the bikes from railway stations and public bike racks in Hereford and Worcester with the help of 20-year-old Ashley Bradley and 24-year-old Robert Leeds.
Anna Midgley, prosecuting, said that two bikes were recognised while on sale online. Police traced the mobile number to Shane Bradley and checked his other sales, finding a number of pictures of stolen bikes, all taken in his back garden.
CCTV footage also captured some of the thefts and the three men admitted conspiracy to steal the bikes up to December 2014.
DI Stuart Murphy, of West Mercia Police, said:
"This was a well organised group who were travelling to various locations with the sole aim of stealing pedal cycles. Many of the bikes were expensive and the victims took steps to secure their property. These individuals went armed with bolt croppers targeting areas where they knew they would find pedal cycles.
"After the thefts, they advertised them on the internet where innocent purchasers would part with their hard earned money thinking they were buying a legitimate bike. I would like to thank the victims who were conducting their own checks on the internet who found two of the bikes for sale. This in turn led to the arrest of the men involved.
"I would urge everybody to take steps to protect their property by marking it. This makes it easier in the event of it being stolen for police to identify the item, and reunite it with their rightful owners."
Caitlyn Orchard, defending Shane Bradley, said the bikes had been stolen to fund his cocaine habit but that he had now given up drugs.
Simon Williams, defending Leeds, who admitted stealing three bikes, said he had been homeless at the time. Leeds, who is currently in jail until April 7 on another matter, was given four more months to begin at the end of his current sentence.
Ashley Bradley admitted being involved in the theft of five bikes and was given five months in a young offenders institution suspended for two years with supervision for 12 months and 130 hours unpaid work.