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Cambridge named bike theft capital of Britain

Oxford second and Reading third on reported bike thefts per head of population

Cambridge has been named the UK’s bike theft capital in a report by Cambridgeshire County Council, with almost 2,500 bicycles stolen there each year, equivalent to one every three-and-a-half hours. Oxford was named as the second worst city for bike theft, with Reading coming in third.

The report looked at the ratio of reported bike thefts per '000 of population. And while Cambridge may not have enjoyed too much success in the Boat Race in recent years, it leaves Oxford in its wake when it comes to bike theft, which runs at a rate 75% higher than that found in its fellow university city, which trails in a distant second in the list of Britain’s bike crime hot-spots.

According to the report, compiled by the county council’s Cambridge Community Safety Partnership, 2,486 thefts of bicycles were recorded between September 2008 and August 2009, 8% higher than in the previous 12 months.

Last week, supermodel Lily Cole, a student at Cambridge University, was revealed to have become one of the latest victims of bike theft there when her Pashley Princess Sovereign was stolen. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the thieves detached the bicycle’s wicker basket before making off with it.

Miss Cole said at the time that she looked after her bike, refusing to leave it at the city’s railway station, recently criticised for its overflowing bike parking, which she described as “like a cesspit of cycles,” adding “I don't take my bike there. I don't think it's nice to put it in so much danger.”

James Woodburn from Cambridge Cycling Campaign, told Cambridge News: “Of course, we will have more bike thefts than Oxford because so many more people cycle here.

"But we still have far too few bike stands in the city centre - we need more racks outside pubs, bars, shops and doctors' surgeries.

"The situation is particularly poor at the station and I would be very hesitant to park a valuable bike there."

Mr Woodburn added: "I think many of the bike thefts are by drug addicts and alcoholics, who find it very easy to cut through cheap locks, but I'm quite sure there are organised gangs stealing more valuable bikes too."

Cambridgeshire Police is working with the the county and city councils to educate bicycle owners about how they can minimise the risk of theft, last year launching a ‘Lock It Or Lose It’ campaign.

You can find out more about cycling levels in Cambridge at the Cambridge Cycling Campaign website which is also plenty more useful information about cycling in Cambridge.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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