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Monday, 22 September 2014

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Cumbria police push better bike security

With cycling increasing in popularity thanks to last year’s Tour de France and Olympic successes, cyclists in Carlisle are being urged to take better security measures to protect their wheels.

A national report earlier this week showed a black market boom, claiming that many people did not ask about the background of a second-hand model.

A survey of 2,000 bike-owners found that 21 per cent of them had had a bike stolen – and almost a third said it was taken from their shed or garage, and a fifth had one stolen from their driveway.

Paul Whitehead, the owner of Whiteheads Cycle and Motor Accessories in Botchergate, advised people to take a note of the unique frame number.

He added: “I think people are security conscious, but where they are lacking is when they put it in the garage and think it is safe there unlocked.”

Mr Whitehead said that a good quality lock and fitting a ‘ground anchor’ – something securely fitted to the floor – in the garage or shed was a good way to keep the cycle safe and secure.

Mike Lee, the owner of Palace Cycles in Botchergate, agreed that people should take better security precautions.

He added: “I think it’s probably quite a good thing that people are noticing security issues. Bicycles for a long time have been desirable. The increased popularity is bringing it to the fore.

“People didn’t notice cycling in the same way but it is now respected as a sport which is great.

“But bike theft has always happened. It’s not a new phenomenon.”

Mr Lee said that last year’s British successes, in events such as the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, had helped fuel the increased popularity for the sport but people needed to protect their valuable property.

He added: “Sheds are very insecure. Probably the best thing people can do is too make them far more secure.

“And don’t leave bikes lying around outside shops thinking you are only going to be a minute – a thief will take it in 10 seconds and that is a 50-second advantage.”

The report was commissioned by insurance firm LV and it is estimated that the market for stolen bikes could be worth as much as £58m because of how easy it is to sell them.

To help combat the crime, officers from Cumbria Constabulary held a series of bike marking events across the county at the end of 2012.

Inspector Jon Sherlock, the force’s community safety lead, said it was very important to get your cycle marked and added: “It may not prevent it being stolen, but it will help us to re-unite owners with their cycles should we recover them.

“Bike marking is a simple and effective scheme that, combined with bike-locking and security awareness, goes a long way in our fight against this type of crime,” he said.

“Some people now pay more for a bike than they do for a second-hand car, so it’s crucial that the bike’s security is considered.”

For further crime prevention advice and information call any Cumbria Community Safety Unit on 101, or go to www.cumbria.police.uk.

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