A man who tried to sell an NHS worker’s bike on Gumtree has been jailed for 32 weeks and fined £200 after the theft victim’s neighbour, the broadcaster Jeremy Vine, posted a video to Twitter about how the Metropolitan Police were unable to help reunite the owner with the bike because her own investigative work had been so thorough that it might be considered as entrapment.
The video went viral on social media last week, and was quickly brought to the attention of Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Vision Zero lead on road safety, who promised to have a look at it.
Suspect has been convicted after pleading guilty. His sentence is as follows:-
32 weeks custodial (includes previous suspended sentence imposed).
Compensastion payment of £200 https://t.co/NhqwX35qxJ
— Andy Cox (@SuptAndyCox) June 8, 2020
Met officers had initially told the bike’s owner, a mental health nurse named Joey, that they would be unable to proceed with investigating the theft because the amateur detective work that she and her partner had done in tracking down the person trying to sell it on the online marketplace would prejudice the case.
Joey had also flagged her stolen bike to Gumtree, without success – not the first time that the website has been accused of helping facilitate people trying to sell stolen bikes.
Happily, Det Supt Cox was having none of that and promised to look at the case personally – the result being, as he said in a tweet today, that a “suspect has been convicted after pleading guilty.”
The police officer added the person had been sentenced to 32 weeks in jail for theft (with a prior suspended sentence triggered by the latest conviction) and had been ordered to pay compensation of £200.
Clearly, in this case, the fact that the victim had a neighbour with enough clout on social media to highlight the initial inaction of the investigating officers, and get it brought to Det Supt Cox’s attention helped.
But credit should not just go to Vine for raising attention to Joey’s plight, but also to the senior police officer who, after being made aware of the absurdity of the initial decision not to proceed with the case, made sure that it progressed and the perpetrator was brought to justice.
If only all bike thefts were investigated so thoroughly ...
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.