Two men have been convicted for stealing free newspapers from London Bridge station in a ‘landmark’ ruling – while a warrant has been issued for one of their arrests.
Marcel Javier Larez-Serrano, of Camilla Road, Bermondsey and Jhon Mejia, of Hampson Way, Lambeth, were spotted loading batches of free papers into a van on the evening of Thursday April 6 2017.
The pair are believed to have stolen more than a thousand copies of the free papers.
When questioned by officers, the pair admitted to planning to sell the papers to a recycling plant, claiming they were being paid £30 each by an undisclosed boss to do it.
Larez-Serrano, 37, was convicted in his absence for theft and fraud and sentenced to eight weeks in prison – and now a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Mejia pleaded guilty to counts of theft and fraud committed in April 2017, December 2017, and January 2018, all relating to the excessive theft of newspapers at London Bridge station.
The 32-year-old was handed a 16-week prison sentence suspended for a year at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday, (Thursday, February 14).
He was also ordered to pay £200 in costs and carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
The ruling is reportedly the first to confirm the stealing of free newspapers as an offence, paving the way for future convictions.
British Transport Police DC Mike Ganly said: “This is a landmark ruling and has officially made the excessive theft of free newspapers an offence. It shows the efforts our officers take to identify and investigate new and emerging crimes.
“This has been a very intriguing case from a law perspective. With the help of the courts we have sought to answer if something given away freely can be stolen. With the conviction of these two men, the answer is clear and we can seek to pursue similar crimes in the future.”