‘He couldn’t tell where they came from’: Bolton motorbikes stolen from van

A MAN driving a van full of stolen motorbikes has been arrested by police who tracked him using a cellphone.

The high-value bikes had all been stolen from Bolton over a four-day period in early August 2020.

Bolton Crown Court heard Aidan Doherty was part of a criminal gang and it was his job to move the stolen motorbikes, hidden in the back of a Ford Transit van.

Prosecuting Anna Bond recounted how on August 26, 2020, the 22-year-old came to the attention of police when they saw him using a phone while driving the white van in Radcliffe.

Police stop Doherty’s van

‘When they got behind him to follow him, they saw him gesture towards a motorcyclist,’ Miss Bond said.

“This motorcyclist then broke a red light and walked towards the defendant’s van, approached him and passed him an unknown object.”

The van and motorbike continued to drive in tandem until police stopped the van on Ringley Road West and the motorbike drove off.

When the back of the van was opened, officers found a green Kawasaki ZR900 that had been stolen from Daniel Dickinson, a red BMW GS1200 belonging to Alexander Brodie and a Honda CB500F taken from Adam Berry.

The Bolton News: Motorbikes stolen from back of Doherty's vanMotorcycles stolen from the back of Doherty’s van

‘The defendant said he had just bought them but could not say from where or give any documentation for them,’ Miss Pope said.

“Checks were carried out on the bikes and all three were confirmed to have been stolen in the Bolton area.”

A further search of the van revealed £1,500 in cash, a kitchen knife and number plates, with double-sided tape on the back, belonging to a Land Rover Discovery in Essex.

When arrested, Doherty, of Parkfield Road, Great Lever, denied knowing that any stolen bicycles or a kitchen knife were in the van.

The BMW was valued at £9,500, the Kawasaki at £6,000 and the Honda at £5,500.

Doherty pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and three counts of receiving stolen property just days before his trial began.

Bolton News: Aidan DohertyAidan Doherty

The court heard he had previous convictions for offenses including attempted burglary and taking a vehicle without his consent. He committed his last crimes just 10 months after being released from a young offenders facility.

Hannah Forsyth, defending, pointed out that Doherty was young and immature at the time, but now has stable accommodation, works as an apprentice roofer and is in a relationship.

“He recognizes that he needs to address his offensive behavior,” she added.

“He said today he wasn’t sure but he thought the bikes were stolen. That’s why he gave false details when he was arrested.

Recorder Anna Pope sentenced Doherty to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work.

He must also take part in 19 sessions of a reflection program plus five days of rehabilitation activities and was ordered to pay the motorcycle owners £200 each in compensation.

The van, the money and the knife were confiscated.

“You were given a chance and I advise you to take it,” Recorder Pope told Doherty.

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