A judge who jailed a man for a series of thefts of bicycles across London, among other offences, described him as a “professional bike thief” and a one man crime wave as he passed sentence on him.
Francis Graham, aged 26 and of Hunter Street, WC1 was sentenced yesterday at Inner London Crown Court after admitting five counts of cycle theft, five counts of commercial burglary and one count of theft from a motor vehicle.
He had denied all the charges at an earlier hearing on 24 September, and when interviewed by police denied that he was the man captured on CCTV footage stealing a bike. However, he admitted all the offences after being presented with what was described as “overwhelming additional CCTV and DNA evidence spanning a variety of incidents.”
Graham was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment on the five counts of burglary, each running concurrently, and eight months for the four counts of theft and one count of theft from motor vehicle, to run consecutively to the burglary counts.
He was also sentenced to a further four months in jail for breaching a suspended sentence, bringing the total term to two years, and has been made subject to a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order was also granted.
His Honour Judge Davies, sentencing, said “You were a one man crime wave stealing in a sophisticated way.
“You tailgated residents into areas to which you didn’t have access, removing decent locks and taking bicycles.
“What happened afterwards remains a mystery. How much you got for them and who benefits from them, where they are now remains a mystery.
“It causes upset and stress to lose a bicycle, taking into account the cost of them. They are expensive. These were not toys, they were used for commuting. One was stolen from a hospital worker from a secure compound.
“These offences are aggravated by your previous convictions, which are many. Your previous convictions are around theft of bicycles.
“You are a professional bike thief,” he added. “In my judgement these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.”
PC Aleksander Hancock, of the Met’s South West Burglary and Robbery Investigation Team, commented: “For many people living and working in London, cycling is their only form of transport.
“The inconvenience and upset caused by Graham in helping himself to the property of so many victims simply cannot be measured.
“I am pleased that the efforts of my team, and our police colleagues at City of London, have afforded Londoners a well-earned rest from Graham’s criminal activities.
“The lasting effects of becoming a victim of theft often last far beyond the replacement of the stolen items. Graham will have time to reflect on this as he serves his sentence.”
Chief Superintendent Steve Heatley, of the City of London Police, added: “Our force takes cycle theft very seriously and we won’t tolerate it in the City.
“With more people cycling to work during the coronavirus pandemic, it presents more opportunities for thieves and we have responded accordingly, working with our MPS colleagues and implementing specific tactics to identify and catch these criminals – and return the bikes to their owners.
“This was a good result, and thanks to our keen-eyed officers who spotted Graham in the act, he has been brought to justice for his numerous offences.”
The full list of charges laid against Graham is as follows:
Theft from motor vehicle at Baches Street, Hackney on 29 October 2019
Commercial burglary at Queenshurst Square, Kingston on 29 November 2019
Theft of pedal cycle from a shop at Richmond Road, Kingston on 6 December 2019
Theft of pedal cycle at Broom Road, Richmond on 6 December 2019
Commercial burglary at Shepherds Bush Road, W6 on 13 December 2019
Commercial burglary at Kensal Road, W10 on 17 December 2019
Commercial burglary at Church Road, Teddington on 30 January
Theft of pedal cycle at St Bartholemews Hospital, on 10 July
Commercial burglary at Woods Road, SE15, on 10 July
Theft of pedal cycle at Heygate Street, SE17 on 4 August
Theft of pedal cycle at Cheapside, EC2 on 23 September (sentence pending).
Last week we reported on another big success for police against the capital’s bike thieves – with City of London Police making three arrests and recovering 60 stolen bikes after a bait bike equipped with GPS tracking was traced to a business premises in Tower Hamlets.
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.