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Bike crook jailed for masterminding £100,000 cycle theft operation which 'handed angle grinders' to gang members
12 February 2024, 15:04 | Updated: 12 February 2024, 15:09
A bike crook who led a thieving gang to steal more than £100,000 in cycles during Covid has been jailed for more than two years.
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Gang mastermind Louey Baldwin, 29, of Orpington, was sentenced to two years and nine months after pleading guilty to handling stolen goods.
City of London Police foiled the group after tracking a stolen bike to an East London warehouse, where Baldwin was also captured handing out angle grinders on CCTV.
The operation discovered the gang stole more than 57 bikes totalling £100,000 over a two-year period.
Baldwin's accomplice, Suleyman Akram, 30, of St Elmos Road, Southwark, was also sentenced for handling stolen goods, alongside fellow gang members Ryan Boxcer, 32, and Gavin McKie, 29 at London Crown Court.
The gang capitalised on an increase in demand for bicycles during Covid, syphoning stolen bike parts through Express Plant Hire in East London until they were eventually caught in 2020 as part of the sting.
CCTV footage showed the bike thieves entering the warehouse on a daily basis, with the group pictured dismantling the bikes on site.
In total seven members of the gang have been sentenced as part of the operation.
Last year, on average, there were around 19 bike thefts a month, considerably lower than when the gang was operating.
Baldwin was seen on the footage to hand over angle grinders, a common tool used to steal bikes, to the thieves.
A further 21 bikes were recovered from Akram’s home address following the sting.
Detective Constable Matt Cooper, in the Serious Organised Crime Team at City of London Police, said: “The City of London Police has been working tirelessly to catch and bring bike thieves and their handlers to justice, employing technology and innovative techniques to limit their opportunities to commit more criminal activities.
“Today’s sentencing shows our dedication and work to achieve this outcome.
“This group stole thousands of pounds worth of bikes, and since their arrests we have had a significant reduction in offences reported as a result of the disruption to the handling mechanism in place for thieves targeting the City offences.”
Police have so far returned more than 20 of the bikes to their owners following the bust.
Akram was sentenced to two years and six months behind bars following the operation, while Boxcer and McKie were handed suspended sentences.