Middleman jailed after cops’ undercover eBay sting

Ryan Bright was jailed for 18 months

Ryan Bright was jailed for 18 months - Credit: Archant

A fence was caught selling thousands of pounds of stolen machinery on eBay after an undercover detective posed as a buyer and entered a successful bid in the online auction.

Ryan Bright (pictured) was acting as receiver for a burglar who was targeting sheds and garages around East Devon, including addresses in Ottery and Whimple, but he was trapped after one of the victims spotted his stolen set of alloy wheels on the auction site.

He alerted the police who carried out a sting operation in which they bought a stolen piece of garden machinery for £275 and arranged to pick it up from Bright.

He offered the detective, who was using the cover name of Nigel, other stolen items and promised he would be getting new supplies of similar tools soon.

Bright was operating out of a friend’s home in Exeter and no sooner had ‘Nigel’ left than colleagues arrived armed with a search warrant and recovered thousands of pounds of kit.

He claimed he had bought all the items from a mystery man in a white van who had pulled up next to him and his friend Jamie Channing as they were fixing a car in the road and offered them the cut price goods.

Bright, 27, of Langstone Drive, Exmouth, and Channing, 25, of Burnthouse Lane, Exeter, admitted eight charges of handling stolen goods.

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Bright was jailed for 18 months and Channing was jailed for 18 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 300 hours’ unpaid community work.

Judge Phillip Wassall said: “Handling stolen goods is, in many ways, more serious than theft because, without people to assist in the disposal of stolen items, thieves would have nowhere to go.”

Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said £7,296 worth of power tools, garden machinery, mountain bikes and car parts were taken in a series of eight burglaries of outbuildings in February last year.