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Stolen bike racket foiled after Borough High Street theft

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.

The conviction and sentencing of the two men follows a financial investigation by the joint Metropolitan Police and Transport for London safer transport command payback unit and cycle task force.

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 bike's frame number 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. His mobile phone carried numerous photos of bikes. Bicycle parts and a laptop were seized during a search of his home. Analysis of his computer showed that he placed around a hundred bike adverts online. Forensic evidence linked Amewode's mobile to O'Meara and he was arrested in connection with the investigation in August 2011.

Amewode admitted to making more than 11,000 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.

"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," says Acting Chief Superintendent Paul Stalker.

Siwan Hayward from Transport for London added: "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."

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