A thief who travelled from London to Cambridge almost every month to steal bikes has been handed a 12-week suspended sentence by Cambridge Magistates' Court, according to a report from Eleanor Busby of Cambridge News.
Bernard Mifsud stole seven bikes between June 19 2014 and January 15 2015, travelling up from Islington each time to strike in the dead of night; the thefts occurred between 12am and 2am, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to seven bike thefts, criminal damage to a bike lock and the theft of a cycle pannier and cape from a bike.
The thefts occurred at the upscale Pinehurst residential development surrounded by the city's ancient colleges.
Paul Brown, prosecuting, told the court that Mifsud was identified on CCTV around the flats at the time of the offences.
Mifsud's record included 30 other thefts, the most recent in 2010, but Melanie Benn, mitigating, said this spate of thefts should be "treated as a hiccup in his rehabilitative process".
Stealing bikes from Cambridge, had become "something of a compulsion for him," she said.
"He has made the decision not to continue," she said and urged magistrates to take into account that Mifsud cared for his sick elderly father and daughter.
Sentencing Mifsud to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and 140 hours of community service, the magistrate stressed that bike theft in a place like Cambridge "will cause the individual great distress and financial harm."
Mifsud was also ordered to pay £1,494.94 in compensation to the affected individuals.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.