Published: 00:00, 17 July 2014
| Updated: 16:09, 17 July 2014
Two men have been jailed for a total of three-and-a-half years after a number of bicycles – valued at more than £10,000 – were stolen from railway stations across the south east.
Derek Butt, 31, of Abbey Place, Dartford, was sentenced to two years in prison and Michael Barnes, 32, of Victoria Street, Belvedere, was jailed for 18 months.
Both appeared for sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit theft at an earlier hearing.
A joint investigation by British Transport Police and Kent Police between June and September 2013 came to a head when the pair tried to sell a number of the stolen cycles to an undercover police officer.
Detective Sergeant Paddy Kerr, of BTP’s area crime unit, said: “Butt and Barnes were responsible for a whole series of cycle thefts from 10 stations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex over a number of months.
“They would drive to stations during the day in a mini van and use bolt-cutters to remove the locks of high-value bikes secured in cycle racks. They’d then leave the scene with the stolen bikes in the back of the van – often taking more than one bike at once.”
The court heard how bikes were stolen from stations in Sevenoaks, Crayford, Tonbridge, Edenbridge, Cowden, and West Malling in Kent and Wadhurst, Horsham, and Stonegate stations in Sussex. In Surrey, the pair also stole a high-value bike from Dorking station.
DS Kerr added: “An undercover officer from Kent Police met with the pair on a number of occasions between June and August and was offered stolen bikes for sale.
“These meetings provided crucial evidence for the investigation and also meant we were able to recover six stolen bikes that were offered for sale by Butt and Barnes.
“BTP is committed to reducing the theft of cycles from stations – a crime that is of real concern to passengers.
“Butt and Barnes were persistent offenders whose crimes took valuable bikes away from their owners – many of whom used them to commute to work every day. Their sentence sends a clear message that cycle crime will not be tolerated.”
His Honour Judge John Hillen also ordered that the mini van used in these offences be confiscated.
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