A man who tried to sell an NHS worker’s bike on Gumtree has been jailed for 32 weeks and fined £200 after the theft victim’s neighbour, the broadcaster Jeremy Vine, posted a video to Twitter about how the Metropolitan Police were unable to help reunite the owner with the bike because her own investigative work had been so thorough that it might be considered as entrapment.
The video went viral on social media last week, and was quickly brought to the attention of Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Vision Zero lead on road safety, who promised to have a look at it.
Suspect has been convicted after pleading guilty. His sentence is as follows:-
32 weeks custodial (includes previous suspended sentence imposed).
Compensastion payment of £200 https://t.co/NhqwX35qxJ
— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) June 8, 2020
Met officers had initially told the bike’s owner, a mental health nurse named Joey, that they would be unable to proceed with investigating the theft because the amateur detective work that she and her partner had done in tracking down the person trying to sell it on the online marketplace would prejudice the case.
Joey had also flagged her stolen bike to Gumtree, without success – not the first time that the website has been accused of helping facilitate people trying to sell stolen bikes.
Happily, Det Supt Cox was having none of that and promised to look at the case personally – the result being, as he said in a tweet today, that a “suspect has been convicted after pleading guilty.”
The police officer added the person had been sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for theft (with a prior suspended sentence triggered by the latest conviction) and had been ordered to pay compensation of £200.
Clearly, in this case, the fact that the victim had a neighbour with enough clout on social media to highlight the initial inaction of the investigating officers, and get it brought to Det Supt Cox’s attention helped.
But credit should not just go to Vine for raising attention to Joey’s plight, but also to the senior police officer who, after being made aware of the absurdity of the initial decision not to proceed with the case, made sure that it progressed and the perpetrator was brought to justice.
If only all bike thefts were investigated so thoroughly ...
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.