Liverpool bike thief jailed for robbing bikes at Birkdale and Ainsdale stations

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A Liverpool bike thief has been jailed for three months after breaking into cycle racks at Birkdale and Ainsdale stations.

Philip Ronald Minshull, 41, of Robson Street, Liverpool appeared at Sefton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 10 September, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and breaching a community order.

The court heard Minshull had targeted the cycle racks, provided by Merseyrail for rail passengers to store their cycles securely, and had managed to force the doors at both Ainsdale and Birkdale to steal two bikes.

On Friday, July 5, Minshull broke into the storage facility at Ainsdale, forced open the roller shutters, and stole a Carrerra mountain bike worth about £260.

A week later Minshull carried out a similar crime at Birkdale station where he stole a bike worth about £300.

British Transport Police was called and investigating officers were soon able to identify Minshull from CCTV footage taken at the time of the offences. He was subsequently arrested and charged.

At court Minshull was sentenced to three months imprisonment for each burglary – to run concurrently – and was handed a further month sentence (also concurrent) for breaching a community order.

Sergeant Steve Lawman, of British Transport Police’s Southport Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The cycle racks provided by Merseyrail are designed to give cyclists a secure, key fob accessed, storage facility.

And they have been hugely successful in reducing cycle thefts in the area.

“Sadly, for some criminals, the temptation is simply too great and it seems they will stop at nothing to try to profit from illegal activity.

“Cycle theft is a particular problem for the railway and BTP has recently launched Operation Wiggins in a bid to tackle those intent on stealing bikes.

“Our officers will be out and about during the coming weeks and months to deter and catch criminals – and to give crime reduction advice to rail passengers and cyclists.”

Sgt Lawman added: “Cyclists too can help reduce thefts from the railway.

By following a few simple steps they can help reduce their chances of being victims of crime:

Always lock your bike whenever you leave it.

Make sure you lock all quick release wheels, as well as the frame, to a strong immovable object
Where possible, lock your bike in a busy area covered by CCTV
Make sure any locks used are good quality and up-to-date
Make the locks and the cycle itself difficult to manoeuvre
Do not put locks in contact with the ground where they become more vulnerable to thieves
Take a photograph and your bike and record you frame number
Mark your frame with your postcode in two areas which are generally hidden from view
Register you bike at

“Some thieves will still target cycles, but if you follow the advice there is a much stronger likelihood that, if your bike is stolen, we will be able to recover it, catch the person responsible and return your property.

“Philip Minshull is now learning that BTP takes cycle theft extremely seriously and will not hesitate to put thieves before the courts at every available opportunity.”

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