A covert operation by the Metropolitan Police's Cycle Task Force has resulted in a man being jailed for five months.
David Benjamin was sentenced after pleading guilty to going equipped for theft. A second man – Christopher Griffiths – was given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty to going eqipped for theft and theft of a pedal cycle.
Both were caght by Cycle Task Force officers, who are funded by Transport for London, during a decoy bike operation in Bethnal Green in July last year.
Benjamin was driving a silver car on July 2nd 2010 and stopped at a red traffic light beside the police decoy bike, locked to a bike rack on Cambridge Heath Road. Griffiths got out of the car and cut through the lock, securing the bike, and then attempted to ride off, but was stopped by Cycle Task Force officers and arrested on suspicion of theft of the pedal cycle.
Benjamin was also detained and arrested, where officers found various items used to steal bikes - bolt croppers, angle grinders and bike lock keys. Following that officers searched his house and found further items connected to bike theft. He was then arrested for going equipped for theft.
In court, Benjamin was revealed to have a history of stealing and handling stolen bikes, and was sentenced to five months. The Cycle Task Force worked with the STC Payback Unit to secure a forfeiture order from the court, permanently seizing the items from Benjamin.
"Criminals need to be aware that we do not simply stop at recovering the bikes, but will seek to have court orders imposed, seizing both financial and physical assets gained through criminality," commented Cycle Task Force Inspector Graham Horwood. "This sentence and forfeiture order imposed, demonstrates our commitment to tackling cycle theft in the capital.
"We advise any cyclist to follow 'the three R's' - record the details of their bike, register them onto online property databases and report any theft to the police. These are simple steps that all cyclists should take so that if their bike is stolen they stand a good chance of being reunited with it."
Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL Steve Burton added: “This is a great result for the Cycle Task Force team and is testament to their continuous hard work tackling bike theft in the capital. Transport for London will continue to work with the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan Police to minimise the risk of bicycle thefts and to ensure that Londoners can enjoy cycling in the capital.”