A serial cycle thief who stole bikes from public spaces and from shops specialising in bikes across London has been jailed.
Francis Graham, 26 (24.01.94) of Hunter Street, WC1 was charged on Thursday, 24 September with five counts of cycle theft, five counts of commercial burglary and one count of theft from a motor vehicle.
He appeared that same day at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was remanded in custody. He later pleaded guilty to all charges and appeared at Inner London Crown Court on Monday, 16 November, where he was sentenced to two years.
The charges relate to the below incidents:
- Theft from motor vehicle at Baches Street, Hackney on 29 October 2019;
- Commercial burglary at Queenshurst Square, Kingston on 29 November 2019;
- Theft of pedal cycle from a shop at Richmond Road, Kingston on 6 December 2019;
- Theft of pedal cycle at Broom Road, Richmond on 6 December 2019;
- Commercial burglary at Shepherds Bush Road, W6 on 13 December 2019;
- Commercial burglary at Kensal Road, W10 on 17 December 2019;
- Commercial burglary at Church Road, Teddington on 30 January;
- Theft of pedal cycle at St Bartholemews Hospital, on 10 July;
- Commercial burglary at Woods Road, SE15, on 10 July;
- Theft of pedal cycle at Heygate Street, SE17 on 4 August;
- Theft of pedal cycle at Cheapside, EC2 on 23 September.
He was sentenced as follows:
- Five counts of burglary: Sentenced to 12 months for each count, to run concurrent;
- Four counts of theft and one count of theft from motor vehicle: Sentenced to eight months for each, to run consecutively to the burglary counts;
- One count of breach of suspended sentence: Four months’ imprisonment, to run consecutive to the other charges.
A five-year Criminal Behaviour Order was also granted.
+ He is to appear at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, 20 November to be sentenced for the Cheapside offence.
HHJ Davies, said during sentencing: “You were a one man crime wave stealing in a sophisticated way. You tailgated residents into areas to which you didn’t have access, removing decent locks and taking bicycles. What happened afterwards remains a mystery. How much you got for them and who benefits from them, where they are now remains a mystery.
"It causes upset and stress to lose a bicycle, taking into account the cost of them. They are expensive. These were not toys, they were used for commuting. One was stolen from a hospital worker from a secure compound. These offences are aggravated by your previous convictions, which are many. Your previous convictions are around theft of bicycles. You are a professional bike thief. In my judgement these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.”
Graham was identified and arrested as a result of a joint investigation by the Met and City of London Police.
During police interview Graham was shown a CCTV image of a man stealing a pedal cycle. Although he initially denied that he was the man in the footage, when presented with overwhelming additional CCTV and DNA evidence spanning a variety of incidents, he admitted the offences.
PC Aleksander Hancock, of the Met’s South West Burglary and Robbery Investigation Team, said: “For many people living and working in London, cycling is their only form of transport. The inconvenience and upset caused by Graham in helping himself to the property of so many victims simply cannot be measured.
“I am pleased that the efforts of my team, and our police colleagues at City of London, have afforded Londoners a well-earned rest from Graham’s criminal activities.
“The lasting effects of becoming a victim of theft often last far beyond the replacement of the stolen items. Graham will have time to reflect on this as he serves his sentence.”
Inspector Simon Ward of Met Forensic Services said: “This type of job really highlights the work of forensic imagery practitioners and in this case, our Central Image Intelligence Unit [CIIU], in identifying images of suspects from across London and linking multiple offences together across policing commands and Force boundaries.
“In this case, Graham was identified by a single officer over the course of a number of months. The officers in the CIIU make over one thousand identifications every year from CCTV recovered from crime scenes to support our frontline and specialist crime colleagues.”
Chief Superintendent Steve Heatley, of the City of London Police, said: “Our force takes cycle theft very seriously and we won’t tolerate it in the City. With more people cycling to work during the coronavirus pandemic, it presents more opportunities for thieves and we have responded accordingly, working with our MPS colleagues and implementing specific tactics to identify and catch these criminals – and return the bikes to their owners.
“This was a good result, and thanks to our keen-eyed officers who spotted Graham in the act, he has been brought to justice for his numerous offences.”
+ Do you have information about crime in your area? If you have information that could help keep your community safe, prevent crime or stop a burglary, but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address.
If you are a young person that has information about crime, but don’t want to speak directly to police, you can visit Fearless where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.