Caught! Thief who took cycles from Ely and Cambridge stations then sold them on line - police find 172 adverts placed by Leo Carroll

Leo Carroll

Leo Carroll - Credit: Archant

A man who admitted multiple offences of fraud in connection with selling stolen bicycles online – including four stolen from Ely station - has been jailed for a year.

A man who admitted multiple offences of fraud in connection with selling stolen bicycles online – including four stolen from Ely station - has been jailed for a year.

In total, British Transport Police found 172 adverts for bicycles associated with Leo Carroll, with 36 bikes in total advertised, some re-listed numerous times.

Each of the bikes was stolen from the Cambridgeshire area and they have a combined value of more than £14,000.

Carroll, 29, from Homerton, London was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to 15 counts of fraud by false representation and three thefts, many from stations in the Cambridgeshire area.

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The court heard how Carroll was responsible for selling multiple bikes on an online selling site between February and October 2014, the majority of which appeared online for sale within 24 hours of being stolen.

The four thefts from Ely station were:

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Felt Carbon Elite mountain bike; Ely station, February 3, 2014

Mongoose mountain bike; Ely station, February 15, 2014

Merida Speeder T3 bike; Ely station, May 14, 2014

Trek Soho hybrid bike; Ely station, May 19, 2014

Carroll first came to police attention when he was arrested on June 23, 2014 following the theft of a bike from Cambridge station the previous day. The victim of the theft had checked online and found their bike for sale.

They contacted the seller, Carroll, to meet and buy the bike. Before doing so, the owner alerted transport police and officers attended covertly. When Carroll was seen at the meeting point with the bike he was arrested on suspicion of theft. He denied stealing the bike and was released on police bail.

Officers pursued a number of avenues to investigate the extent of Carroll’s activity, distributing his image to neighbouring police forces, patrolling stations and making enquiries into Carroll’s online activity on the selling website.

It was soon established that Carroll was responsible for selling numerous bikes online which had recently been reported stolen from stations, including Cambridge and Ely. He did so using a variety of email addresses, one of which included his girlfriend’s name.

He was also arrested for three thefts. On May 22, 2014, a couple boarded a train to Norwich and placed their luggage at the end of their carriage before sitting down. When they got home and opened their bag they realised their iPad and laptop were missing.

Upon viewing CCTV, officers identified Carroll as the suspect for this offence as well and arrested him for theft of passenger property. On June 15, 2014, the owner of a specialised mountain bike returned to Ely station to find her bike missing. Officers again quickly identified Carroll in connection with the theft and he was further arrested.

Detective Sergeant Santi Sende said: “This case is an excellent example of the extensive and detailed investigations carried out by British Transport Police in relation to cycle crime, and in particular the officer in the case PC Julie Beattie.

“We work hard to raise awareness about cycle security among the travelling public, but unfortunately bikes remain a popular target for thieves.

“Carroll was prolific in his criminal activity which took place over an extended period of time and. This sentence proves that far from being an easy way to make money, if you are involved in the sale of stolen bicycles we will do everything in our power to identify you and deal with you accordingly.”

The below is a list of bicycles which were listed online for sale by Carroll, with the dates and locations the owners of the bikes reported them missing:

• Felt Carbon Elite mountain bike; Ely station, 3 February 2014

• Mongoose mountain bike; Ely station, 15 February 2014

• Trek 7.5 FX bike; St Andrews Church, Cambridge, 9 March 2014*

• Boardman carbon road bike; Cambridge station, 13 March 2014

• Cannondale trail SL5 mountain bike; Market Hill, Cambridge, 4 April 2014*

• Giant City Speed CS bike; Peas Hill, Cambridge, 12 April 2014*

• Giant Roam 3 men’s bike; Audley End station, 30 April 2014

• Marin bike; Cambridge station, 11 May 2014

• Merida Speeder T3 bike; Ely station, 14 May 2014

• Trek Soho hybrid bike; Ely station, 19 May 2014

• Boardman team racer bike; Cambridge station, 22 May 2014*

• Iron Horse bike; Cambridge, 28 May 2014*

• Giant Escape sports bike; Cambridge station, 17 June 2014

• Carrera Vulcan mountain bike; Cambridge station; 22 June 2014

• Specialized Allez mountain bike; Cambridge station; 5 August 2014

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