Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Man convicted after mother of bike theft victim holds three-day protest outside his house

Fiona Bateman became frustrated that "not much was happening" with the police investigation, despite CCTV and repeat identifications online...

A mother whose son's bicycle was stolen by a prolific bike thief took the novel approach to catching the guilty party of holding a three-day protest outside his house, featuring signs asking 'Where's my bike, Dave?', after she grew tired of the police's lack of action despite significant evidence.

Fiona Bateman's son was a victim of David Seagar's bike theft spree, the thief seen on a neighbour's CCTV taking the mountain bike. The crime was reported, but Ms Bateman was left exasperated by the fact "not much was happening" with the investigation despite Seagar being repeatedly identified on social media, the Mail reporting officers from Thames Valley Police told her it was "just a bike".

With the support of the 'Spotted Witney Official' Facebook group, where pictures of her protest were shared, Ms Bateman sat outside the 49-year-old's house for three days as members of the group dropped off hot drinks and flowers in support.

Bike theft protest (Fiona Bateman/Spotted Witney Official/Facebook)

[Spotted Witney Official/Facebook]

On Friday, Seagar was convicted at Oxford Crown Court and sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years and dependent on the bike thief completing a drug rehabilitation programme, as well as a 'thinking skills' programme focused on self-control, problem solving and positive relationships.

"A slap on the wrist"

Despite the conviction, Ms Bateman said it was "frustrating" Seagar had escaped with "a slap on the wrist".

"Where are the bikes? How about buying my son a new bike? We can't afford the four, five, six hundred pounds to replace it," she said. "He stole so my son has to now walk. But that's okay, just as long as Dave doesn't feel aggrieved.

"We just think police are overlooking crimes like bike thefts because they are not major crimes — but they really affect our lives. Our son Graeme cannot drive, and without his bike he's now having to borrow his father's bike. The bike was not cheap, the cheapest replacement for his bike we can find is over £400. It really does feel like Dave has just got away with it."

> Bike thefts at train stations up 39% year-on-year, research reveals

Seager was repeatedly interviewed by police about a number of bike thefts, but in court denied a man seen in CCTV footage was him. It was alleged he used bolt cutters to remove locks and make off with bikes up to the value and in one case in excess of £2,000.

He was ultimately convicted of eight thefts, one of which was from outside a GP surgery, a probation officer reporting he seemed uninterested at his pre-sentencing report interview. The report noted a "sense of entitlement" about the bikes stolen "deliberately and brazenly".

However, in defence, Seager's legal representation claimed his attitude was due to him having his own bike stolen so, because of his mobility issues, he had been left "callous" about taking other people's bikes, a story Ms Bateman labelled "ridiculous".

> Almost 90% of bike thefts reported to police closed without suspect identified

Last month we reported how a Staffordshire-based mountain biker, who had £45,000 worth of bikes stolen in a burglary at his parents' house, had hired a private investigator to track them down.

Damian Groves was, like Ms Bateman, left frustrated by police inaction, saying he passed on all the information from the private investigator but just repeatedly heard "were the bikes insured?" in reply.

"We're not talking about minor crime here. I've provided the police with all this intel and they've just done nothing. You hand the police all this information, and I don't think it's that the police aren't interested. I just think they haven't got the power and the system is just no good. It has broken me."

Groves' search even saw him drive 1,200 miles to Poland after intel from his private investigator suggested they had been shipped out the country.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

Add new comment

29 comments

Avatar
polainm | 9 months ago
1 like

Cambridgeshire has about £2.5m worth of people's transport stolen every year, and this money ultimately feeds organised crime. The transport is cycles. At least 50% of these thefts aren't reported to the police because everyone knows, it's a low ranked crime. The police base their statistics on reported crime, so when the public lose faith in police and cease reporting, the police PR claim a reduction in said crime. 

Cambridge Cycle Point station 'run' by Greater Anglia Railway, is the single worst cycle theft point in the country. GAR has been utterly flaccid in combatting the problem. 

If £2.5m of police cars were stolen from Cambridgeshire constabulary in just one year, would there be a significant response?

As its 'just bicycles' it doesn't matter. It does matter to organised crime though. 

Avatar
Bill H | 9 months ago
6 likes

Back in 2010 I had a bike stolen from Stratford station and a few months later spotted it on Gumtree. It was being sold from a nearby address in Walthamstow . I called the police in Walthamstow and they were over the moon, "call the Transport police and they will recover it for you". 
I called BTP and they too were over the moon, but they insisted that the local police were responsible for recovery.

Many phone calls later (including one where I was explicitly told not to collect myself) and having made zero progress, I was contacted by a policeman based in Plaistow. Despite the crime not being in his area he had seen my details and got involved. After my bike was recovered we had a chat and briefly touched on his colleagues attitudes. It turns out that after many years on the force he still enjoyed nicking people and recovering property.

The lesson from my experience is that it all comes down to the officer you deal with. Some are interested and many aren't. 

 

 

Avatar
Rome73 | 9 months ago
0 likes

This is a true story: a friend of mine had a tracker fitted to his bike. The bike was a TERN GSD. It was stolen. He could see where it was. The tracker is accurate to about 5 metres.  He told the police. The Police, with my fiend present, attended the address of where the tracker was showing its location and asked the house owner 'do you have a cycle which is not yours on the premises?'  To which the answer was 'no'. The next day my friend found the tracker in a hedge in a park. The police couldn't do anything as they do not have the right to entry. Which is as it should be because you can't have Police busting down doors without reasonable cause. The frustrating reality is - you ain't going to get a stolen bike back, whatever the circumstance. So well done to this mum. 

Avatar
Rapha Nadal replied to Rome73 | 9 months ago
0 likes

Unless, of course, you have a bike stolen, somebody then rides past you on it about 6 months & leaves it unlocked outside a shop, and you take it back.

That's what happended to me a few years ago.

Was stolen by a man in debt & then sold on. No recourse though as the thief had apparently committed suicide.

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to Rome73 | 9 months ago
5 likes

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

[...] Which is as it should be because you can't have Police busting down doors without reasonable cause. [...] 

Is the location from tracker not sufficient? As leads go, I would say it seems more robust than many. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rome73 | 9 months ago
3 likes

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

This is a true story: a friend of mine had a tracker fitted to his bike. The bike was a TERN GSD. It was stolen. He could see where it was. The tracker is accurate to about 5 metres.  He told the police. The Police, with my fiend present, attended the address of where the tracker was showing its location and asked the house owner 'do you have a cycle which is not yours on the premises?'  To which the answer was 'no'. The next day my friend found the tracker in a hedge in a park. The police couldn't do anything as they do not have the right to entry. Which is as it should be because you can't have Police busting down doors without reasonable cause. The frustrating reality is - you ain't going to get a stolen bike back, whatever the circumstance. So well done to this mum. 

That sounds like sheer incompetence by the police.

The general idea is that they find the likely location of stolen goods (i.e. the location of the tracker) and get a search warrant. Then they knock on the door, present the warrant and gain entry.

Are you sure they weren't just some friends in fancy dress pretending to be police?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
3 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

That sounds like sheer incompetence by the police.

It may sound like incompetence but don't be fooled, is IS incompetence.  Or "we've just got too many other things on our plates and at the same time this job is one neither us nor our bosses gives a stuff about"  Which probably looks the same as a victim.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Rome73 | 9 months ago
1 like

Got my bike back as the result of my LBS being alert.  Months after it was nicked someone brought it in "for a service" (some parts were pirana'd / broken, likely by the original thief).  LBS noted that it was the one they'd sold me and I'd mentioned to them had been nicked, and hung on to it.  Still going to cost me quite a bit of money to fix again but much cheaper than replacing!

Don't underestimate people being helpful.  Don't overestimate the ability of the police to do anything (apparently up to and including your car getting nicked).  Don't expect that being behind a locked door and having some hefty metal attached will stop people removing it!

Avatar
cqexbesd replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
1 like

chrisonatrike wrote:

LBS noted that it was the one they'd sold me and I'd mentioned to them had been nicked, and hung on to it. 

It would be nice if the bike industry maintained a database of stolen bikes that all LBSs, regardless of country, could query.

Back in the day, maybe still, Apple had a database of stolen Macs and if one got brought in to any Apple repair place anywhere in the world it should have been flagged. Of course it helped that Apple repair places all had to be licensed by Apple and it was hard getting spare parts anywhere else. Not the case with LBSs.

Of course this shouldn't be restricted to bikes so maybe the police forces could organise one for anything with a serial number that can be stolen.

Avatar
HoldingOn replied to cqexbesd | 8 months ago
2 likes

Something like BikeRegister?

Avatar
Sriracha replied to HoldingOn | 8 months ago
1 like

My bikes are on Bikeregister. I hope my bikes are still where I left them, in the shed at home. But if instead they are being offered for sale and you take the trouble to check them on Brikeregister you would not know that they are stolen, since I don't either. Bikeregister don't have a way to set a "not for sale" flag against your bike. So unless it is nicked from under your nose, and you retain the presence of mind to make updating Bikergister.com your first action, it's useless.

Avatar
HoldingOn replied to Sriracha | 8 months ago
0 likes

Perhaps a feature to suggest to BikeRegister?

Or is there a more appropriate offering out there?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to HoldingOn | 8 months ago
0 likes

Sadly I think lots of bikes are very quickly informally sold to people who a) surely know that this is not legit, but don't care or b) are one of the vast number of the population who haven't heard of BikeRegister or such a thing.

Recall the interview that road.cc ran (they'd got from the Met) with a thief (who sounded marginally more organised than many "flogged it to a mate / down the pub"):

A Thief wrote:

Often I had orders, I knew loads of people, I was known as the ‘bike man’ and people would introduce me to someone who wanted a bike. The rest of it went on Gumtree. ... I sold a lot to foreign people, Poles for example, they all wanted bikes and I sold a lot to them. ... I’d take anything that I could sell on and I was stealing lots. ... My rule was never spend the day with a bike.  ... A lot of bikes go on to Gumtree particularly in the summer, that’s when most are shifted. You know the police are looking at these sites but there’s so much stuff on there they can’t keep up with it.

A LBS still might be able to check if they get something for service.  I'd say it wasn't "no effort" though, even if there were just one site for this.  They have a lot of bikes coming in through their doors - lots of people just want a quick puncture fix / mend a part and collect it later that day / the next.

Avatar
HoldingOn replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
0 likes

Some bikes out there are more expensive than some cars - isn't it depressing that it appears to be much more difficult to sell a stolen car!

or maybe it isn't - it's not a world I know a lot about!

and before anyone starts - I am not suggesting licence plates for bikes, BikeRegister lets you add an ID to your frame, like a VIN.

Avatar
wtjs replied to cqexbesd | 8 months ago
0 likes

maybe the police forces could organise one for anything with a serial number that can be stolen

What charming optimism! The police would laugh themselves back to sleep at such a suggestion, if they were ever awake enough to hear about it

Avatar
Cugel | 9 months ago
7 likes

As more and more crimes are ignored by the criminal justice no-longer-a-system, there'll be more and more crimes. As the victims get more and more frustrated by the lack of action by the criminal justice not-a-system, they'll move from the sort of benign and responsible actions taken by this mother to more drastic responses.

Vigilantes will indeed arise. Not just cyclists who film and report motoring crimes (which is being a responsible citizen, not a vigilante) but groups of angry and frustrated victims determined to supply not just the police detection service but the judge, jury and punishment service.

Being naive and unpracticed judges and punishers, further unjust events will occur. There'll be "wrongful convictions" and draconian punishments that go far beyond redress or recompense and deeply into revenge.

A Toryspiv will then declare "emergency regulations" which is a euphemism for "go the full fascist and forget elections". Victim-vigilantes will either themselves be heavily punished or, if they're vicious enough, recruited to the New Model Toryspiv Brownshirts.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
8 likes

Cugel wrote:

As more and more crimes are ignored by the criminal justice no-longer-a-system......

A Toryspiv will then declare "emergency regulations" which is a euphemism for "go the full fascist and forget elections".........

Except that they have the time and resources to arrest a woman holding a sign outside a court informing the jurors that they can acquit on their conscience, a right enshrined at the Old Bailey.  This is what happens in fascist regimes.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
8 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

Except that they have the time and resources to arrest a woman holding a sign outside a court informing the jurors that they can acquit on their conscience, a right enshrined at the Old Bailey.  This is what happens in fascist regimes.

Well, at least Bacon Tax Sunak isn't going to mess around with local Councils' abilities to bring traffic under control....

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/sep/28/rishi-sunak-expected-to...

Avatar
brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
4 likes

Quote:

The “plan for motorists” is expected to include moves to limit English councils’ powers to place 20mph speed limits on main roads, and to restrict the number of hours a day that car traffic is banned from bus lanes.

It is also understood to include curbs on local authorities’ ability to impose fines – and thus raise revenue – from traffic infractions caught by automatic number plate recognition cameras, and on the use of such cameras in box junctions.

Sunak is also expected to cite concerns about so-called 15-minute cities, an urban planning concept based around having shops and workplaces near homes, which some protesters claim is a UN-led conspiracy to limit people’s ability to travel.

Oh, FFS... <face/palm>

Avatar
brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
2 likes

Quote:

The “plan for motorists” is expected to include moves to limit English councils’ powers to place 20mph speed limits on main roads, and to restrict the number of hours a day that car traffic is banned from bus lanes.

It is also understood to include curbs on local authorities’ ability to impose fines – and thus raise revenue – from traffic infractions caught by automatic number plate recognition cameras, and on the use of such cameras in box junctions.

Sunak is also expected to cite concerns about so-called 15-minute cities, an urban planning concept based around having shops and workplaces near homes, which some protesters claim is a UN-led conspiracy to limit people’s ability to travel.

Oh, FFS... <face/palm>

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

 least Bacon Tax Sunak

What is this Bacon tax? won't it interfere with the economically crucial pork markets?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to wycombewheeler | 9 months ago
1 like

wycombewheeler wrote:

What is this Bacon tax? won't it interfere with the economically crucial pork markets?

It was one of his lies about reversing all green policies - he was trying to imply that Labour would tax meat and make everyone have seven recycling bins.

I think his next ploy is to remove all bins and just let people throw rubbish into the streets. He'll probably stop all sewage services and similarly just let people crap out of their windows like in the good old days.

More realistically, I think he's planning on changing inheritance tax so that all those "ordinary" people won't get taxed on their granny's £5m mansions.

Avatar
Andrewbanshee replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

I often write Yet another advert for vigilantism on posts about close passes etc.

Avatar
VIPcyclist | 9 months ago
3 likes

Tory cuts in action.

Avatar
Mad Franky replied to VIPcyclist | 9 months ago
13 likes

Think you're missing a consonant in there somewhere.

Avatar
quiff | 9 months ago
8 likes

One sign in Witney, Oxon.

Avatar
AidanR | 9 months ago
8 likes
Quote:

Seager's legal representation claimed his attitude was due to him having his own bike stolen so, because of his mobility issues, he had been left "callous" about taking other people's bike

Ah, the classic "two wrongs make a right" legal defence.

Avatar
bobinski replied to AidanR | 9 months ago
0 likes

AidanR wrote:
Quote:

Seager's legal representation claimed his attitude was due to him having his own bike stolen so, because of his mobility issues, he had been left "callous" about taking other people's bike

Ah, the classic "two wrongs make a right" legal defence.

The lawyer is not raising a defence but putting the defendants instructions/mitigation before the court. He is accepting he was callous. Not clear the court ordered compensation but if not  that may reflect the defendants means.

Avatar
Grumpy17 | 9 months ago
15 likes

Quite surprised the police didn't take action against her for harassment. Par for the course these days.

Latest Comments