A ‘prolific’ thief who stole bikes left outside Eastbourne Railway Station has been jailed.
John James Smith, of no fixed address, used bolt cutters to help himself to 34 bikes worth a total of more than £21,000, said Sussex Police.
The 32-year-old targeted bicycle racks at railway stations and colleges in a year-long crime spree around Brighton and Hove and Eastbourne.
Police say Smith had been given a criminal behaviour order in March in an attempt to curb his repeat offending – but he was caught stealing again just three days later.
He admitted the thefts, plus possessing cannabis and breaching a suspended sentence – also for theft of a bicycle.
Jailing him for a total of 30 months at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (December 14), Judge Christine Laing QC said it was a ‘deliberate, flagrant and repeated’ series of repeat offending on a staggering scale.
She said, “I’m dealing with over 40 offences. You stole bikes that were very important to the people who owned them, either to get them to work or to college – causing everyone involved stress as well as financial loss.”
The court heard Smith used bolt cutters to steal bikes from BHASVIC college in Dyke Road, Brighton, as well as Brighton, Preston Park and Eastbourne railway stations between June 2017 and July this year.
PC Andrew Newman said, “This was a series of impactive crimes that affected many people.
“Smith stole bikes that were very important to the people who owned them and they were their form of transport of get them to work or to college. His actions caused his victims stress and financial loss.
“However this result is a clear message that bike theft can result in a substantial prison sentence.”