Prolific St Albans and Harpenden station bike thief jailed
- Credit: Archant
A prolific thief has been jailed and ordered to pay thousands in fines for stealing more than a dozen bikes from St Albans and Harpenden railway stations.
Samuel Boateng, 40, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of theft from St Albans City and Harpenden stations - the first of which happened in February this year.
Police officers dedicated to tackling bicycle thefts in the area caught Boateng red-handed stealing a bike from St Albans City station and arrested him.
The stolen bike was recovered, and Boateng was also found to be carrying an angle-grinder and a broken bike lock.
The officer investigating the case gathered witness statements from victims and evidence from the station owners to ensure that Boateng, who is of no fixed address, was convicted of each theft.
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Appearing in Hatfield Magistrates Court for sentencing on Tuesday, October 29, Boateng was jailed for a year and fined £4,500.
Inspector Gary Pinner, of the British Transport Police, said: "This is a fantastic example of officers showing their diligence and tenacity in bringing a prolific offender to justice.
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"Our officers have been building a file against Boateng for a considerable period, and I hope that this sentence serves as a deterrent to would be bike thieves - they should be aware that the BTP and the courts will seek prison sentences.
"Nationally, the BTP has seen a reduction of 18 per cent in recorded bicycle thefts, and there has been a reduction of 22 per cent in bicycle thefts at St Albans and surrounding stations.
"Our officers will continue to work alongside train operators to reduce bicycle crime at stations, and investigate new ways to keep passengers' belongings safe."
The two stations are managed by Govia Thameslink Railway, with the operator's North Thameslink rail enforcement manager Adam Dear welcoming the news.
He said: "We welcome the conviction of a prolific bicycle thief, who targeted two of our very busy commuter stations.
"We work closely with the British Transport Police to reduce cycle crime and we are also in the process of improving cycle security at both stations."
Figures released in August revealed there have been more bike thefts in St Albans station than at any other station in the UK.