A THIEF who stole bikes from three train stations has been jailed for a year.
Stephen Mills, 34, was described by a judge as a ‘cycle thief tourist’, after he was caught on CCTV taking bikes from Havant, Fratton and Fareham rail stations.
He was captured after an investigation by British Transport Police, but to date none of the bikes has been recovered.
Detective Constable Matt Bevan said: ‘We launched an investigation into the thefts and seized footage from CCTV security cameras at each station as part of our inquiries.
‘After reviewing the footage we were able to identify and link Mills to each incident, with CCTV placing him at the scene of each offence and showing him stealing the cycle.
‘The images were then circulated on police intelligence systems and Mills was duly identified.’
The court heard that on four separate occasions between July 19 and August 2 last year, CCTV captured Mills stealing cycles from the bike racks at the three stations.
The victims included a 60-year-old man from Havant, who lost a black and grey cycle, valued at around £300, along with the lock he had used to secure it on July 19.
A 43-year-old man from Southsea had his £200 white and black racing bike and lock stolen two days later.
On July 30 last year another 43-year-old victim, this time from Waterlooville, had his £250 silver and black mountain bike and bike lock stolen.
And on August 2 a 31-year-old woman from Fareham had a bike lock stolen along with a blue and black mountain bike worth £120.
Mills, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the bike thefts when he appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Det Con Bevan added: ‘Mills’ actions caused enormous inconvenience and real upset to the victims, who were not only hit financially by the thefts, but were forced to make alternative arrangements for travelling to and from their homes until replacement cycles could be purchased.’
If you spot suspicious behaviour near station cycle racks call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.