AN Essex man has been sentenced as part of a crackdown on a gang which stole more than £100,000 worth of bicycles. 

The gang's crime spree came to the end of the road when police recovered 57 stolen bikes from their den, leading to the conviction of seven members.

Ryan Boxcer, 32, of Shoebury, Essex, was given a two year suspended sentence for handling stolen goods while Louey Baldwin, 29, of Orpington, Kent, who was considered to be the mastermind of the gang, was sentenced to nearly three years in jail after pleading guilty to handling stolen bikes.

During the gang’s criminal spree in August 2020, there were 68 reported bike thefts in the City of London.

But following the arrests the number of reported bike thefts in January 2021 fell to seven.

Last year, on average, there were around 19 bike thefts a month in the City of London, considerably lower than when the gang was operating.

Detectives finally caught the gang after a bike was stolen in November 2020, and officers tracked it to a warehouse in East London.

Police managed to recover 57 bikes, with a value of £100,000, as well as bike parts at Express Plant Hire, which was also being used by the thieves and handlers as a place to dispose of the stolen bikes.

Further investigations of CCTV footage showed the bike thieves entering the warehouse on a daily basis and some of the defendants were seen on security footage dismantling the bikes.

Baldwin was seen on the footage to hand over angle grinders, a common tool used to steal bikes, to the thieves.

Police have so far returned more than 20 of the bikes to their owners.

Baldwin was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail at Inner London Crown Court [on Friday Feb 9].

Detective Constable Matt Cooper, of the Serious Organised Crime Team at City of London Police, said: “We have 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.”

Suleyman Akram, 30, of Southwark, south London, was sentenced to two years and six months for handling stolen goods after police discovered a further 21 bikes at his home.

Gavin McKie, 29, of Dartford, Kent, was given a 10 month suspended sentence for the handling stolen goods.