Man jailed for selling stolen bikes

03 April 2012

Metropolitan Police Service

A 29 year-old man has been jailed for two years for his involvement in the sale of stolen bicycles online.
Stephen Amewode pleaded guilty to five counts of theft of a pedal cycle and for selling stolen bikes, breaching the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, at Blackfriars Crown Court. He will now be subject to confiscation proceedings to seek the money he gained from his criminal conduct as well as compensation for the victims.

A second man, Liam O'Meara, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of a pedal cycle and was sentenced to 52 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the two victims.

This sentence follows an extensive financial investigation by the joint Metropolitan Police Service's and Transport for London's (TfL) Safer Transport Command (STC) Payback Unit and Cycle Task Force, after identifying Adewode and O'Meara as being involved in the sale of stolen bicycles.

The investigation began after officers from the Cycle Task Force recovered a stolen brompton bike which Amewode had advertised for sale online. The bike was subsequently sold to a man who was unaware that the bike was stolen. Using the frame number from the bike, the CTF identified that the bike had been reported stolen from Borough High Street in January 2011. The bike was returned to the rightful owner, leaving the buyer out of pocket. He later identified O'Meara as the person who sold him the bike.

Amewode was arrested on 25 March 2011 and was found in possession of a mobile phone containing numerous photos of bikes. A further search of his house resulted in bike parts and a laptop being seized. Analysis of his computer showed that he placed around 100 bike adverts online. Forensic evidence linked Amewode's mobile to O'Meara's, who was arrested in connection with the investigation in August 2011.

Amewode admitted to making over £11000 from the sale of 33 stolen bikes, five of which he admitted to stealing himself. All adverts he placed were posted online within a couple of days of the bicycles being reported stolen.

Amewode and O'Meara admitted stealing bikes from Camden, Westminster and Southwark.

Acting Chief Superintendent Paul Stalker, Safer Transport Command said: "This sentence and impending confiscation hearing demonstrates the Safer Transport Command's commitment to tackling cycle theft in the capital and how we are using the full range of tactics to bring offenders to justice and make them pay."

Siwan Hayward, Deputy Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL, said: “As the number of cyclists continue to grow in the capital we will work with our policing partners to minimise bike theft, ensuring that anyone who does commit cycle crimes is caught and given the harshest penalty possible.”
 

Notes to editor:

  • The Cycle Task Force forms part of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Safer Transport Command which is funded by TfL;
  • The Cycle Security Plan produced by TfL, British Transport Police, City of London Police and Metropolitan Police Service sets out what we have done, and plan to do, to prevent and deter cycle theft and criminal damage.
  • The Cycle Task Force team work alongside the 32 local borough Safer Transport and Safer Neighbourhoods teams, who also run sessions on bike safety, marking and registration and give London’s cyclists advice on how to lock up their bikes securely in order to deter cycle theft;
  • The Cycle Task Force work with the Payback Unit using Proceeds of Crime Act to deprive criminals of their assets gained through cycle crime.
  • The MPS Safer Transport Command fights crime on buses, tackles illegal taxi touts and assists with the control of traffic congestion. There are now around 2,000 uniformed officers in the unit, which is part funded by TfL;
  • Members of the public can contact the Cycle Task Force by email
  • We encourage cyclists to Follow the Three R’s:

Record
Keep a record of the frame number, make and any other marks that can identify your bike if it stolen. The Cycle Taskforce run a number of bike marking events

Register
Register your bike details onto online property databases such as BikeRegister.com. This will help the police return any recovered bikes to the rightful owners

Report
If your bike is stolen in London, please report this to the Metropolitan Police Service by calling 101. In an emergency dial 999. If you are a victim of bike theft and you suspect your bike is being sold, do not arrange to meet the seller, contact the police, quoting your crime reference number.