West Mercia Police is issuing security advice to pedal cycle owners following a recent spate of thefts in Worcester City Centre over the past few months.

Bike Police AwareOfficers have increased patrols around the city with a view to deterring the criminals whilst raising awareness of the problem by encouraging the use of good quality locks and chains.

It takes just seconds to spot an unlocked bike and steal it – meaning hundreds of pounds’ worth of bike can be gone in an instant.

Recent thefts have involved the use of ‘bolt cutters’ to quickly cut through cheap cable locks and chains, often leaving the cut lock at the scene.

The thefts are happening both day and night.

Most recently we have seen four incidents of bike thefts targeted at the bike stand in Fish Street. In an effort to raise awareness, officers have placed police tape around the stand with a sign stating:

Fish Street bike rackThieves are targeting cycles parked here. We are advising you not to park your cycle here unless it is locked securely using high quality locks such as heavy duty ‘D’ Locks that are marked; “Sold Secure”.

Police Constable Paul Lambon, of Worcester City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We want to ensure that everything is being done to trace the offenders and to prevent bikes from being stolen.

“We advise bike owners to secure their bikes using a good quality lock as all of the bikes stolen have used versions of the common flexi cable lock and we would recommend at least using a D-Lock for a valuable bike.

“This is just the first phase of our cycle security campaign that will be followed up with a property marking events and further enforcement action.

“If you do witness any suspicious behaviour, please let us know as soon as possible by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency so we can direct our resources to the right areas.”

Officers are encouraging cyclists to take a few simple steps to prevent opportunistic thieves from striking.

These include:
•    putting together a Bike Passport with all the details of your bike along with any receipts, warranties or photos
•    finding and noting the bike’s serial number (usually located on the crankshaft underneath pedals)
•    insuring your bike either on home contents insurance or separately
•    security marking the frame with a UV pen with your initials, postcode, or something unique to you so it can be traced and easily returned if it is lost or stolen and subsequently recovered
•    registering your bike on sites such as www.immobolise.com – free bike coding is offered at Leamington Police Station using the bike register scheme www.bikeregister.com
•    always keeping your bike locked – even if you are only leaving it for a few minutes
•    using good quality locks and ideally more than one kind as thieves need more tools to steal it
•    locking your bike through the wheel and frame to an immovable object such as a bike rack, a lamppost or a tree in a place that is well-lit, in view of others and CCTV cameras
•    removing any accessories such as water bottles, saddles, lights, pumps and saddlebags that could potentially be attractive to thieves
•    varying your routine by locking the bike in different ways and places

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of bike theft is asked to call Warwickshire Police on 101 as soon as they realise.

If their bike is registered on a property database, they will need to give the unique reference code to the police.

They are advised to keep the crime reference number and then inform their insurance company.

Police hope taking some of these measures will help deter potential thieves as well as reducing the number of bikes being stolen in the area.