How a South Tyneside stolen bike handler was busted after cycles were put up for sale on Facebook

A handler of stolen bikes denied being the man who also pinched them when police suggested his lack of hair made him a suspect.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:55 am

When shown CCTV footage of a culprit shorn on top, James Smedley, 43, of Dean Road, South Shields, replied he was “just receding”.

Smedley was caught in possession of the bikes, stolen two days apart in Hebburn in May last year, after they were put up for sale on Facebook.

He even brought the first bike to its owner when he was contacted via the social media site and a bogus sale set up, a court heard.

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South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said the first cycle vanished on May 20, and the second had disappeared by 5.30am two days later.

She told magistrates in South Tyneside: “The first complainant states his garage is sited behind his property.

“When he checked, he found his red and black bike was missing, and a description was provided to police.

“He spoke to his neighbours who had CCTV cameras pointing in the direction and found that at 10.10pm, someone was walking past the garage.

“The footage showed, about a minute later, someone riding away on the bike.

“A local estates’ Facebook page stated that the bike was for sale on a separate site on Facebook.

“The defendant later brought the bike to him, the lock opened with his key.”

Mrs Beck said the second victim heard a loud noise outside her terraced home and got up and found her bike gone.

She added: “She recognised the bike on Facebook and the man selling the bike was the defendant.

“She received a call from the police to say they had the bike. The defendant was duly arrested.

“In interview, he was shown the CCTV and the police said the man on the CCTV was bald.

“He said that he was not bald, he was just receding.”

Jason Smith, defending, said: “You can deal with this by way of a conditional discharge.”

Smedley, who owes the courts around £1,700 in previous fines and costs, pleaded guilty to two charges of receiving stolen goods.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge, with £85 court costs and a £22 victim surcharge.

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