Two brothers from Northern Ireland have been given prison sentences after they made more than £100,000 by selling stock stolen from online cycling retailer Chain Reaction Cycles.
Brian Bowen was jailed for six months for selling £88,000 worth of stolen goods online, while his brother Alan was given an eight-month sentence suspended for two years for selling £14,000 worth of stolen goods.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Belfast Crown Court heard how Chain Reaction Cycles directors reported the case to police after noticing a “significant loss of stock” from the company warehouse in 2013.
The company also noticed that four eBay sellers based close to the Chain Reaction warehouse in Carrickfergus selling the same products which were missing from the warehouse.
The Belfast Telegraph reports how a company director had bought one of the items, with Brian Bowen’s fingerprints being found on the bubble wrap. Police discovering that £88,645 had been deposited in the bank account of Brian Bowen’s mother, and further money into the account of Alan Bowen’s girlfriend.
Acting for Brian Bowen, Johnny Brown said that his client had purchased the items – which ranged in value from £10 to a £245 set of pedals – from a car boot sale and were in plain packaging with no barcodes, while Paul Bacon, representing Alan Bowen said that “there is no evidence to suggest that he was close to anyone involved in the thefts of these items.”
However this defence was rejected by Judge David McFarland, as he sentenced Brian Bowen to six months in prison, and Alan Bowen to eight months, suspended for two years.
“I am satisfied there is sufficient proximity between you and the sale of these stolen goods,” Judge McFarland said.
“I just don’t accept that these items were randomly purchased at a car boot sale. I don’t know the exact relationship between you and the person who stole the items but it is clear it was a mutually beneficial relationship.”