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London bike thief jailed for 12 weeks after being caught red-handed in police operation

Second man fined for handling stolen goods – both were being watched by police targeting cycle thieves

A 24-year-old South London man has received a 12-week prison sentence after he and an accomplice were caught in the act of stealing a bicycle in Balham.

Four weeks of the sentence imposed by Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on John Holloway of Long Lane, Southwark relate to that theft.

A further eight weeks were added due to his re-offending while under a suspended sentence for a separate incident of cycle theft.

The Metropolitan Police say that another man, 21-year-old Thomas O’Connor, of Swan Road, Rotherhithe, received a fine for handling stolen goods.

Riding a Raleigh Urban 700 bike, he had acted as lookout on Wednesday 24 April while Holloway stole a bike in Balham.

Unfortunately for the thieves, all the while they were being watched by officers of the Metropolitan Police’s Cycle Task Force and Wandsworth Safer Transport Team, conducting an operation as part of part of Project Cycle Ops, which aims to fight bike theft in London.

The bike that O’Connor was riding turned out to have been stolen from outside a residential address in Balham that very morning.

Police were able to trace the lawful owner because he had logged his details, including the frame number, with BikeRegister. When contacted, he had just returned home to discover his bike missing.

Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor from the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Command commented: "Had the stolen Raleigh not been security marked and registered, officers would not have been able to identify an owner.

“We encourage all cyclists to register details of their bike on the MPS preferred cycle online registration service - www.bikeregister.com for this reason.

"We are determined to bring cycle thieves to justice and are working closely with BTP, City of London Police and Transport for London to reduce cycle theft across London," he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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