Bike Thief Ordered To Pay Back Money To Victims

A BIKE thief who stole from commuters across East Anglia - including Ely - has been ordered to pay back more than �3,000 to his victims, following an investigation by British Transport Police.

A BIKE thief who stole from commuters across East Anglia - including Ely - has been ordered to pay back more than �3,000 to his victims, following an investigation by British Transport Police.

Paul Hurst, of Kings Lynn, Norfolk, was charged with seven offences of theft of bikes, which he claimed to have later sold at local car boot sales for around �60 each.

Hurst, who worked as a cleaner of refrigeration units for supermarkets, used his employer’s car – a white Renault Kangoo van - to help him to steal the bikes.

Hurst, of Coulton Close, was pictured on CCTV cameras loitering around cycle racks and, after officers linked all of the offences to the same culprit, he was tracked down and arrested.

“Hurst was in search of quality bikes, which ranged in value from just over �200 to more than �600 each,” said PC Tim Tubbs, investigating officer from BTP.

“He would then load them into his van and then sell them at local car boot and jumble sales all to make a quick buck for himself.”

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Hurst was in court for a string of theft offences at Ely and Downham Market stations on 8 April, Baldock station on 10 May and 1 June, Hitchin station on 10 May, Huntingdon station on 2 June and Ely station again on 7 June.

A further offence at Audley End station, from 12 May 2010, was taken into consideration.

PC Tubbs said: “People who steal bikes in this way should be aware that stations are now equipped with CCTV systems that are an invaluable aid in helping us to identify offenders.

“Hurst caused misery for the people he stole from and I hope that this case sends a strong message that if you intend to steal from the railway there’s a good chance you’ll end up in court.”

He added: “We will push for the strongest penalties for those who feel it is acceptable to steal from law-abiding members of the public.”

Appearing at North Herts Magistrates Court at Stevenage on August 5 Hurst pleaded guilty.

He was ordered to pay �3,318 in compensation and fined �1,400.

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