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Cambridge police warn against flimsy bike locks that can be broken without tools

Undercover officers and a covert operations police bike being employed to tackle theft

Criminals are stealing bikes using nothing more than simple brute force such is the poor quality of locks being employed by many Cambridge cyclists. As well as recommending that people invest in decent locks, police are also asking people to register their bikes on the Immobilise website, saying that the vast majority of reports they receive do not include the frame number.

Thieves have been known to slice through cycle racks with a saw to get at bikes, so it should come as no surprise to learn that a lock which can be broken by hand serves as little deterrent. Despite this, Sergeant Chris Horton told Cambridge News that many people are using only poor quality locks.

"I have evidence of criminals stealing bikes without the need to use or carry tools, just brute force, such is the poor quality of locks many people are currently using. Do not rely on CCTV as it has its limitations. If the criminal hides their face, or the CCTV is of poor quality, it may be of limited evidential value in identifying who carried out the crime."

Horton also recommends installation of a tracker type device into any high value bike that is being left unattended for a period and asks that people add their frame number to the Immobilise website.

“The vast majority of the reports we receive do not include the frame number. The public always report the registration number of their stolen cars and I would like us to move towards the same in Cambridge when it comes to reporting stolen bikes and the frame number.”

The comments come as Cambridge police look to crack down on bike theft, employing undercover officers and a covert operations police bike to address the problem. PCSOs are also being used to carry out high profile patrols in areas where large numbers of cycles are parked.

It is being reported that in the west and city centre areas, 175 fewer thefts were seen in the period from December to March compared to August to November last year.

Earlier this month, a thief who travelled from London to Cambridge to steal bikes almost every month was handed a 12-week suspended sentence by Cambridge Magistates' Court. Bernard Mifsud stole seven bikes between June 19 2014 and January 15 2015, travelling up from Islington each time and taking bikes between 12am and 2am.

For more advice on combating thieves, take a look at our Bike Locking Bible.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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Ants | 8 years ago

I was in Cambridge on Sunday and spotted a bike securely locked to railings with a D-lock. Unfortunately, someone had removed the handlebars and cut the brake and gear cables. You can't seem stop the scumbags stealing something, even if not the whole bike.

horizontal dropout | 8 years ago

In relation to the police asking people to register their bikes, it's all very well but they are resisting calls to get them to release frame numbers of stolen bikes into a public database.

I think some people signed the UK petition to get police forces to
release frame numbers for a public database to help combat bike theft.
There's an update here:

It includes a request to sign a funding application which if successful
will help progress this.

If you haven't already signed the petition please consider doing so and
also please consider signing the funding application, also spread the word.

brooksby | 8 years ago

My local Tesco has those bike racks which are bolted down to the ground. I went there and three of the four bolts on one of the stands were missing. I reported it at the customer service desk. I went back a couple of weeks later, and the rack hadn't been fixed (or, it had and someone had had another go at it).

I appreciate that's a bit off-topic.

But a lot of people really really don't seem to think about locking their bike - you see really very expensive bikes locked up in town with a piece of licorice string, and shudder. Do their owners really think that carrying the weight of a decent lock is that onerous a task that they'd gamble their bike on it?

(Not victim blaming, OK - I think bike thieves are the bottom feeding scum of the earth)

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