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York cycle shop owner who ran bike theft ring targeting city's railway station jailed

Philip Rennison, who ran now-defunct Cycle City, used middleman to tell thief which bikes to steal

The owner of a bike shop in York has been jailed for running a bike theft ring that targeted bicycles left by their owners at the city’s railway station.

Philip Rennison, aged 47 and who ran Cycle City in Clifton Moor, which no longer trades, was jailed for two years at York Crown Court for his part in the operation, reports the York Press.

Through his friend Andrew Elmer, 39, he passed on details of the bikes he wanted to John Connelly, 34, who was sleeping rough in the city at the time and would steal the bikes to order.

Elmer, who was not paid for his involvement, and Connelly, who had a cocaine and heroin addiction, were both jailed for 16 months.

Connelly, whose sentence will run consecutively to a 44-month jail term he is currently serving following two prior convictions for theft, was arrested by officers from British Transport Police on 3 November 2016.

He had been acting suspiciously at the bike racks at the station on 3 November and was found to have equipment used to steal bikes with him.

When officers examined previous CCTV footage, they found footage of him stealing other bikes there.

His mobile phone contained messages between himself and the other two defendants regarding the kind of bikes he should steal.

Seven bikes were stolen with a combined value of £4,729, and the most expensive one was worth £1,800.

The court heard that none of the stolen bikes had been recovered and that some of their owners had given up cycling, while others were now afraid to park their bikes in public.

The thefts took place in October and November 2016, and all three defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal bicycles.

Neal Kutte, speaking in mitigation on behalf of Rennison, said that Cycle City, established in 2013, had debts of £40,000 at the time of the thefts and had since been declared bankrupt.

“That is why, frankly, he became involved in this venture,” he explained. “He bitterly regrets what he has done and he wishes to apologise.”

Sentencing the trio, Judge Paul Batty QC, said: “These defendants didn’t care about that, they were only in it for the money.”

York, together with Norwich, has the third highest modal share for cycling among British cities, behind Oxford and Cambridge.

The judge said: “Cycle routes and cycling generally are an integral part of the fabric and economy of both city and indeed the university.

“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.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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8 comments

Avatar
Dogless | 6 years ago
0 likes

Strangely enough I think I *sold* this guy some bike bits a couple of years ago and he seemed nice enough. On reflection, I wonder whether he was just casing my garage. Evidently nothing worth taking in there :'(

Avatar
EddyBerckx | 6 years ago
7 likes

Can't help thinking the homeless guy was being taken advantage of...assuming he didn't make enough to get off the streets??

Avatar
Simon E | 6 years ago
8 likes

"He bitterly regrets what he has done and he wishes to apologise."

Yeah, of course he is now that he's been caught. Scum.

Avatar
iandusud | 6 years ago
5 likes

"Neal Kutte, speaking in mitigation on behalf of Rennison, said that Cycle City, established in 2013, had debts of £40,000 at the time of the thefts and had since been declared bankrupt."

All that means is that not only was he stealing bikes he was also stealing from his creditors. In my opinion that's not mitigating, it makes his case worse.

What a scumbag!

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
9 likes

 

Neal Kutte, speaking in mitigation on behalf of Rennison, said that Cycle City, established in 2013, had debts of £40,000 at the time of the thefts and had since been declared bankrupt.

“That is why, frankly, he became involved in this venture,” he explained. “He bitterly regrets what he has done and he wishes to apologise.”

The showing 'remorse' because you were caught bang to rights BS doesn't wash, as for the excuse, there are thousands of people who lost a lot and got into debts who didn't turn to crime and steal people's oft only mode of getting about readily/relatively inexpensively.

Bitterly regrets it y arse,  clearly didn't regret it after the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh bike and you would have continued having them stolen to order if you hadn't been caught, you had no qualms about the premeditated with zero thought for  your victims act and how this might affect them oersonally.  Basically you're full of shit, no doubt 'remorse' was taken into consideration....grrrrr.

The guy doing the stealing, well, I have some sympathy but not much, will prison straighten him out, hopefully but it's doubtful and very likely once back on the streets will be doing similar again, rinse and repeat.

Avatar
brooksby | 6 years ago
9 likes

Hangin's too good for him! surprise​ (Disclaimer: possible hyperbole there, but the bike shop people are supposed to be the ones we can trust!)

Avatar
ShinyBits replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

 the most expensive one was worth £1,800.

 

Avatar
Grahamd replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Hangin's too good for him! surprise​ (Disclaimer: possible hyperbole there, but the bike shop people are supposed to be the ones we can trust!)

Is it still too good if it’s by his balls?

 

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