A thief who was caught "red-handed" by officers at a train station has been jailed for stealing 18 bikes.

Samuel Boateng, 40, of no fixed address, plead guilty to 18 counts of theft from St Albans and Harpenden stations.

The first theft was in February this year and officers who were dedicated to tackling bike thefts in the area caught Mr Boateng whilst he was attempting to steal a bike in St Albans station.

He was arrested and the stolen bike was recovered.

Mr Boateng was also found carrying a broken bike lock and an angle-grinder.

He was sentenced to one year in jail at Hatfield Magistrates’ Court on this Tuesday (October 29) and has been fined £4500.

British Transport Police Inspector Gary Pinner said: “This is a fantastic example of officers showing their diligence and tenacity in bringing a prolific offender to justice.

“Our officers have been building a file against Boateng for a considerable period, and I hope this sentence serves as a deterrent to would be bike thieves.

“They should be aware that the BTP and the courts will seek prison sentences.

“Nationally, BTP has seen a reduction of 18 percent of recorded bicycle thefts, and there has been a reduction of 22 percent of bicycle thefts at St Albans and surrounding stations.”

GTR’s North Thameslink Rail enforcement manager Adam Dear said: “We welcome the conviction of a prolific bicycle thief, who targeted two of our very busy commuter stations.

“We work closely with the British Transport Police to reduce the cycle crime and we are also in the process of improving cycle security at both stations.”