£1.5million worth of bikes stolen from railway stations across the country. BTP gear up for national day of action across Lancashire to tackle the crime.
The theft of bikes from sheds, schools, streets and stations is a growing trend across the country.
Last year 5318 bikes were stolen with an estimated value of over £1.5million were stolen from Britain’s train stations alone.
In response British Transport Police (BTP) arrested 1381 people last year, and on Tuesday the force is holding a national day of action to raise awareness of the issue.
During the day of action, teams of officers will be holding cycle surgeries at stations across Lancashire and will be handing out leaflets and crime prevention advice to commuters, as well as offering security marking for commuters’ bikes.
Officers regularly undertake covert and high-profile policing operations to catch cycle thieves in the act and work closely with Home Office police forces to share information and manage offenders, and work with stations and train operators to ‘design out crime’ or ‘target harden’ at cycle hubs or racks to make it more difficult for thieves to steal.
Regular checks are also made on online auction and second hand dealer sites, and visits made to markets and shops to ensure stolen bikes are not being sold on.
Superintendent Jason Bunyard heads up Operation Wiggins, he said: “Over the past few years we have seen an increase in passengers using bikes to travel to and from railway stations.
“Following continued investments in cycling infrastructure, events such as the Tour de France, and with people being more conscious of the environment and their health, there has been a huge surge in their popularity.
“Unfortunately this has also provided increased opportunities for thieves due to them being relatively easy to steal and dispose of bikes sadly remain an attractive target for thieves.
“More bikes stolen will lead to in an increase in insurance claims resulting in higher insurance premiums for everyone”
Correctly securing a bike using a good quality gold standard lock and ensuring your bike is marked and registered will deter a thief from stealing or attempting to steal a bike.
Unsurprisingly the majority of the 5318 bikes stolen from the railway network last year were not secured correctly or had substandard locks.
Superintendent Bunyard added, “Thieves need to operate quickly to reduce their chances of being caught, having a heavy duty lock will make their job much more difficult and they are more likely to abandon any attempt to steal your bike.
“Its quite surprising that someone would spend over £1000 on a bike then use a £5 lock to secure it. We would always recommend spending at least 10% of the bike cost on an appropriate lock
“Don’t be tempted in purchasing a bargain bike online, from someone on the street or down the pub either with no questions asked. You could be prosecuted for handling stolen goods and will be landed with a criminal record. Always insist on a proof of ownership and check the bike frame number on Bikeregister.com”
On 17, October three men, Tomasz Brzezinski (26) of Beechwood Gardens, Ealing, Joshua Scott (19) of Marshall Street, Brent and Zayn Khan (19) of Park Avenue, Ealing, were jailed for a total of five-and-a-half years at Blackfriars Crown Court in London for stealing over 500 bikes from railway stations and other public places across London and Hertfordshire.
The thefts took place between July 2012 and December 2013. Many of the stolen bikes were found for sale on popular auction websites.
The bikes had an estimated value of £74,000, and were stolen from railway stations in: Willesden Junction; Richmond; Cricklewood; Twickenham; Paddington; Eden Park; Waterloo; Watford; Watford Junction; Harlesden; St Albans City and Hounslow.
• 47% of cycle theft takes place in Autumn/ Winter months
• On average 7 bikes are stolen from train stations across the country every day
• Bikes with cable or chain locks accounted for 73% of thefts
• Only 5% of bikes using a D-Lock were stolen
• Most thefts take place between 6-7pm at night
• Monday is the day when most bikes are stolen- possibly due to being stored at stations over the weekend
Tips and advice to keep you bike secure
• Get your bike security marked and register at www.Bikeregister.com. BTP regularly hold free marking events at stations- follow us on Twitter @btp_uk for the latest events.
• Record details of your bike, including the frame number and other distinguishing features and take a photo of it. This will be crucial in identifying and recovering your bike if its is stolen
• Use locks of gold ‘sold secure’ standard and use two different types, with at least one being a high quality D-lock. It takes thieves a few seconds to cut through poor quality locks – make it as difficult for them as possible.
• Always lock your bicycle whenever you leave it at a designated cycle rack area. Lock the frame and both wheels to a cycle stand.
• Make the lock(s) and bike hard to manoeuvre. Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible
• Take parts that are easy to remove with you, such as saddles or wheels or use secure skewers. Never leave computers of high value cycling gadgets on your bike,
• Always lock your bike in a recognised secure cycle parking area that is well lit and covered by CCTV.
• If your bike is stolen please contact BTP on 0800 405040. Having your Bike Register number, a photo and any other details to hand may help us with our investigation.
To view cycle surgeries and events at stations in your area please view the interactive map here BTPne.ws/opwiggins
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