A man from Dartford and another from Belvedere have been jailed for conspiracy to commit theft after a number of bicycles worth over £10,000 were stolen from railway stations across the south east.

Derek Butt, aged 31, of Abbey Place, Dartford, was sentenced to two years in prison and Michael Barnes, aged 32, of Victoria Street, Belvedere, was jailed for 18 months. Both appeared for sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court on July 11 after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

A joint investigation by British Transport Police and Kent Police between June and September 2013 came to a head when the pair tried to sell a number of the stolen cycles to an undercover police officer.

The court heard how bikes were stolen from stations across Kent and Sussex including Sevenoaks and Crayford.

Detective Sergeant Paddy Kerr, of BTP’s area crime unit, said: "An undercover officer from Kent Police met with the pair on a number of occasions between June and August and was offered stolen bikes for sale. These meetings provided crucial evidence for the investigation and also meant we were able to recover six stolen bikes that were offered for sale by Butt and Barnes."

"BTP is committed to reducing the theft of cycles from stations – a crime that is of real concern to passengers. Butt and Barnes were persistent offenders whose crimes took valuable bikes away from their owners – many of whom used them to commute to work every day. Their sentence sends a clear message that cycle crime will not be tolerated."