A London man found with 10 stolen bikes at his home has been jailed for 16 months. Tariq Hasi, 20, admitted money laundering and three additional fraud offences after he was tracked down by police investigating online cycle sales.
When officers from the city's Cycle Task Force went to Hasi's home in Cambridge Grove to arrest him last September they found 10 bikes, five of which were confirmed to have been stolen. Further raids on 23 and 24 March uncovered another four bikes – including two still in their boxes, which had been taken during a break-in at the Brompton factory in Braintree, Essex the previous week.
Police also found a forged receipt and stolen identity documents including foreign passports. Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court, Hasi was sentenced to 16 months' imprisonment for money laundering and three months, to run concurrently, for the fraud offences. A confiscation hearing is due to be held on 2 December. All of the stolen bikes have now been returned to their owners, including one – a Giant SCR – which Hasi had already sold for £550.
After the sentencing, Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, of the Metropolitan Police Service's Safer Transport Command, said: "Criminals need to be aware that we don't simply stop at recovering the bikes but will seek to have court orders imposed, seizing both financial and physical assets gained through criminality. This sentence and impending confiscation hearing demonstrates our commitment to tackling cycle theft in the capital."
Siwan Hayward, deputy director for community safety enforcement and policing at Transport for London, which funds the Cycle Task Force, added: "Hasi's actions affected a number of people and we're very pleased he's been given a sentence that reflects the seriousness of his crimes."
Police are urging anyone considering buying a second-hand bike to carry out basic checks to make sure it isn't stolen:
- Does it have its original paintwork?
- Has the frame number been tampered with? Is it listed on any of the national databases, such as Bike Register?
- Is the price its true market value? (If something seems too good to be true then it usually is)
- How much does the seller know about the bike?
They advise meeting the seller at a fixed work or home address, not in a public place.