Almost three bikes a day have been reported stolen inReading consistently for the past three years but a police expert says the problem could be all but solved if people used decent locks. These are some of the 900 bikes stolen in Reading every year which police have recovered but remain unclaimed in the station.
Around 25,000 cycle trips are made in Reading every day but almost a third of all people in theUKhave had their bikes stolen and only five per cent go on to get them back. Police seize bicycles that are either abandoned or taken as evidence and have more than 300 at Reading police station which, unless they are claimed, will be auctioned off or destroyed.
Among the bikes that often go unclaimed are the ones the thieves ride in on before choosing a better one and taking it away.
John McNicholas, crime reduction adviser for Reading police, said: “It’s a really huge crime generator – when you think of 900 bikes getting stolen every year and see the 300 that we have recovered at the station you can begin to get an idea of the scale of it.
“But in most cases it could be prevented by a decent lock. People should be wary of cheap locks. I’ve seen them sold for as little as a pound and they’re basically just a piece of wire. In some cases cycle thefts can be carried out without anyone looking terribly suspicious – but if people just make sure their bikes are locked with a good lock to a secure structure they can’t take them.
“They are often stolen from where there’s little in the way of overlooking or CCTV nearby. In the town centre most of the cycle racks are positioned so they are overlooked.”
Police store seized bicycles for three months before they are either auctioned or destroyed.
Mr McNicholas said: “One school of thought as to why we have so many that go unclaimed is, bizarrely, that thieves ride in on tatty bikes and go home on good ones, leaving the old ones behind.”
If you believe the police have your bike and can prove you own it – or you want your bike marked – contact the Thames Valley Police for more information.
(Article Source: The Get Reading Website)
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