Serial bike thief busted!
As reported by Bristol Evening Post, a serial bicycle thief caught in Bristol has admitted stealing 70 bikes worth an estimated £40,000.
After police caught Darren Irwin in the act, he took them on a drive around Bristol and indicated the location of 100 bike thefts, 71 of which matched police records.
Irwin, 20, of Hogarth Walk, Lockleaze, pleaded guilty to four bike thefts and asked for 66 to be considered.
Imposing a six-month jail term, Judge Jamie Tabor QC told him: "There was a time when stealing a bike was a bit of a joke. Times have changed. Bicycles are used for recreation as well as an environmentally-friendly form of transport and have become highly valuable articles.
"One cycle you stole was worth £1,600, which is rather more than a lot of old cars."
John Penny, prosecuting, said police were called to Asda in East Street, Bedminster, in July after a member of the public saw two men stealing a mountain bike. Police stopped the men as they rode bikes on Novers Hill and police established both bikes were stolen.
Mr Penny said: "Irwin said the bike he was riding was stolen from St Nicholas Market. He said he wanted to clear up other offences and was bailed."
The court heard Irwin returned to the police station at a later date and took police on a bike theft tour of Bristol, the majority of which tallied with their records.
As well as the East Street bike theft, his recent snatches included a £600 BMX owned by Tobias Spikes, which Irwin stole after watching Mr Spikes in Haymarket.
One of his biggest grabs was a £1,600 high-tech Chris Boardman racer from the Mud Dock bike shop and café, belonging to Michael Wincup, the court heard.
Mr Penny said: "Mr Wincup was eating in the café. Irwin kept him under surveillance and, in an opportune moment, cut the bike's chain and cycled away."
The court heard Irwin similarly helped himself to a £1,000-cycle from outside Morrisons in Symes Avenue, Hartcliffe, which he sold on quickly because he knew owner John Arnold was from Hartcliffe.
Police Constable Frank Simonds told the Evening Post: "Pedal cycle theft in Bristol is an issue that is being addressed by crime reduction teams across the city.
"We are working closely with the Cycling City team to make sure cyclists keep their property safe and lock their bikes correctly.
"We advise all cyclists to place the lock through the frame and the wheel of the bike and then secure this to a stand. If you can, use two locks for the front and the back wheel."
Veronica Pollard, of the Bristol Cycling Campaign, said: "I think it is one of the things that puts people off cycling – the idea that their bike will get stolen. It is not just frustrating when your bike gets stolen – it is a tragedy.
"People love their bikes as much as they love their cars. You get that same sinking feeling when you come out to the place where your bike was parked and it is not there."
For more on how Cycling City are working with Avon and Somerset Police Force visit:
Better By Bike security tags and bicycle passports are available from the Cycling City team on request.