Published on

14 July 2023

Teamwork gets results in crackdown on bicycle theft

A serial bicycle thief has been brought to justice, and three stolen bikes returned to their owners, thanks to Wokingham Borough Council’s anti-social behaviour (ASB) team and Thames Valley Police

Three bicycles stood up next to different walls, these were returned to owners  after being stolen

A serial bicycle thief has been brought to justice, and three stolen bikes returned to their owners, thanks to Wokingham Borough Council’s anti-social behaviour (ASB) team and Thames Valley Police.

Members of the ASB team were patrolling in Wokingham town when they spotted three high-value bikes on communal land to the rear of a council property in Ashridge Road, near the address of someone who was suspected of stealing and handling stolen bikes.

The team were quickly able to identify the rightful owners, a family living in the Wokingham area who had reported the mountain bike and two road bikes as stolen on social media, so they called the police who came out to recover and return them.

Ashley Reed-Jones, 26, of Ashridge Road, was arrested on Monday, 3 July, and pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of a pedal cycle at Reading Magistrates’ Court the following day.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £154.

This related to three incidents in Wokingham town in June, in which Reed-Jones stole bikes worth more than £3,400 from three victims including two teenage boys. One bike was taken from outside a school and another from outside a shop.

Proud to help make our communities safer

A member of the ASB team said: “The owners were so pleased to get their bikes back and have thanked us on social media, which we really appreciate although we were simply doing our job. We know how upsetting it is to have your property stolen and it’s so rewarding to be able to make a difference.

“Hopefully this incident will deter thefts in future by showing there are consequences to this selfish behaviour. If we find evidence that could help bring an offender to justice, we’ll pass it to the police and, as we saw in this case, they’ll act promptly.”

The team will carry on working with the police, particularly in known hotspots, to fight a recent increase in bike thefts. The police also hold regular crime prevention events and offer bike marking, including at council events, which helps to trace owners when stolen bikes are found.

Cllr Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport and leisure, said: “This was a fantastic outcome and highlights the benefits of working in partnership with other organisations, which we seek to do on a range of fronts from community safety to tackling poverty and much more.

“I’d like to congratulate our team for showing initiative in tracing the owners, and to thank the police for following it up so quickly. We assure residents that we’re working to ensure there are fewer incidents like this in future, and that where it does happen we’ll do all we can to put things right.”

Making waste offenders clean up their act

The team also recently instigated a successful clear-up of the alleyway to the side of the shopping parade on Bean Oak Road in Wokingham, where an area used for storing commercial bins was regularly being strewn with waste.

Following complaints from local business owners, the team carried out checks to ensure every business was managing its waste responsibly and ensured subcontractors were in place to sweep the area.

All businesses, even home-based ones, should have commercial contracts for their waste to be collected separately from household waste. The ASB team conduct spot checks to ensure these are in place, as failing to do so is an offence.

The team regularly investigates fly-tipping in the borough, which has recently seen a modest but promising decrease following increased use of mobile CCTV and more publicity around the consequences of unlawfully dumping waste or hiring unlicensed contractors who do so.

They also handle issues like noise, including nuisance vehicles, loud music and building works, as well as unlicensed premises, littering, fly posting, unauthorised encampments and unauthorised street trading or charity collections.

The team try to educate people and change their behaviour but will also investigate and enforce the laws if they have to, including gathering evidence and presenting it in court.

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