BikeRegister Assists Police Op To Break Cycle Crime Ring9 Feb 2018
BikeRegister has helped police identify some of the bikes that were stolen as part of a cycle theft ring organised by the former owner of a cycle shop in York.
Phillip Rennison, who ran Cycle City bike shop at the time of the thefts (Oct 2016 to Mar 2017) has been jailed along with two other men after being found guilty of organising theft of bicycles from York railway station.
Rennison would pass on the makes and models of bikes to be stolen to his friend, Andrew Elmer, who then passed them on to John Connelly. Connelly would then steal the bikes from the cycle parking area at York railway station and pass them to Rennison.
Following a stop and search of Connelly, he was arrested for going equipped to steal bikes. This was the springboard for Operation Lucas, carried out by British Transport Police’s Proactive CID at Darlington.
As part of the operation, CCTV footage of Connelly stealing bikes was uncovered, and his phone was revealed to contain messages between himself, Rennison and Elmer discussing which bikes to steal. It was identified that Cycle City was heavily involved in the receiving and onward disposal of stolen bicycles and valuable parts from the bicycles.
The cycle shop and private residences were searched and a number of items and cash were seized. Nick Roach, BikeRegister’s Police Liaison Officer, assisted police in checking the authenticity of suspected stolen bikes on national cycle database BikeRegister, and was able to confirm that some of them had indeed been stolen.
Cycle City is now closed and the business has been declared bankrupt. York Crown Court was told that the business had built up debts of £40,000, and that was why Rennison had become involved in theft.
In addition to Rennison’s two-year sentence, Elmer and Connelly were both sentenced to 16 months in prison. Connelly is already serving 44 months for two other robberies, and will have the sentence added to his existing time in jail.
Upon sentencing at York Crown Court, Judge Paul Batty QC, said: “The message has to go out loud and clear that those involved in this professional type of theft of bicycles in this city will receive deterrent sentences.”
Sgt Nigel Ashworth, Proactive CID, British Transport Police, added: “This was a complex investigation into an organised gang who were stealing bicycles to order. Some of the victims had invested a great amount of time and money in their bicycles and were at a loss financially as well as affecting their commutes or getting to and from the railway station.
“These offenders showed contempt for the victims and the bicycle community of York by stealing their property and portraying themselves as legitimate bicycle enthusiasts, which they aren’t and this sentence evidences the courts stance on bicycle theft as well as the British Transport Police’s commitment to both reducing bicycle crime and investigating those who see railway stations as easy targets to steal bicycles.”
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