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Bait bike leads police to massive stolen bike stash

City of London Police find 60 stolen bikes in one location in anti-bike theft crackdown

The theft of a bait bike equipped with a GPS tracker led to officers from City of London Police discovering a further 60 stolen bikes worth up to £5,000 each.

Police tracked the bike, stolen last Wednesday, to a business premises in Tower Hamlets, London E1, where they arrested three men aged 26, 29 and 53 years.

They are now trying to trace the owners of the bikes that they recovered.

The force says that it has seen a “slight but steady rise in bicycle thefts” in the Square Mile, with increasing numbers of City workers switching to two wheels for their commutes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Three men have been arrested and 60 bicycles suspected of being stolen have been recovered, as the City of London Police crackdown on cycle thieves across the Square Mile.

As a result, officers have been focusing on tackling bike theft, including through uniformed and plain clothes patrols at hotspots in the area, as well as employing decoy bikes.

The operation to date has resulted in more than 10 arrests as well as the recovery of more than 80 bicycles, some of which have been returned to their owners (with one such reunion pictured below) – in one case, within three hours of it being stolen, with three arrests made in connection with the theft.

Bike reunited with ownwr

Officers also pursued and caught one man after they saw him he attempting to steal a bike in the City. The man, Francis Graham, aged 26, was charged with 11 offences and will be sentenced later this month.

Police have also seized equipment such as bolt cutters and angle grinders typically used by thieves to steal bikes, and have also encouraged cyclists to come to bike marking events held at various locations in the City.

Angle grinder seized

Chief Superintendent Steve Heatley said: “We know that having a bike stolen can be devastating for cyclists, many of whom cherish their bike and may have spent hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on it.

“With more people cycling into the City, it presents more opportunities for thieves, as they look to target people who have only recently started cycling because of the pandemic and may not know the best ways to secure their bike.

> Bike locks: how to choose and use the best lock to protect your bike

“That said, please be reassured that we take cycle theft very seriously and won’t tolerate it in the City.

“We have had some successes in the past few months as a result of our ongoing efforts, though we won’t let up and will continue to deploy our officers and use specific tactics to combat cycle theft.

“We’ll also be continuing to share our key prevention messages, as well as hosting more education and awareness sessions across the Square Mile, the details of which will be shared across our social media channels.”

As we reported earlier today, the Metropolitan Police, which covers the capital outside the City of London, has teamed up with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) to encourage people to learn how to keep their bicycles secure.

> London cyclists urged to lock up their bikes properly to thwart the thieves

The initiative also enables people who complete TfL’s free online Cycle Skills course to benefit from a 15 per cent discount on cycle safety accessories from Halfords, including the retailer’s own range of locks.

Bike seizure

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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Hirsute | 3 years ago

Aren't they going to claim 'entrapment' ?

Saw this today

"If the alarm or the flashing skull sign does not deter a would-be thief, VanMoof offers a £270, three-year service, that will send a team out to chase down your stolen bike. If they don't find it within two weeks the company will replace the bike for free."


mdavidford replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago

The main thing I took from that story was that having found a pile of 30-odd most likely stolen bikes they... took their bike and went home. And ate some Smarties.

You'd think they might at least have made a call to the police.

Sriracha replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago

The VanMoof reporting sort of tip-toed around various sensitivities, which I found amusing. Actually, I'm shocked you should intimate the other 30 bikes in a caravan park could be stolen!

But yeah, the other 30 bikes ... it's like VanMoof say (my emphasis), "We want to prove to thieves that our bikes aren't worth stealing"

NZ Vegan Rider | 3 years ago

That belt drive singlespeed disc bike is cool  3

Prosper0 | 3 years ago

Bait bikes are such an easy way to catch these b******* I wish more forces did this.

If the Met flooded the streets of London with bait bikes for a few months, they could literally break the chains of organised bike crime and any expectation of getting away with it. 

Awavey replied to Prosper0 | 3 years ago
1 like

That's been tried hasnt it ? You just end up with bike thieves breaking into more sheds,or even Grand Theft Auto style pushing people off their bikes and taking them,or just mugging people for their bikes

chaos | 3 years ago

Let's hope the punishment fits the crime. The list of wrongs is pretty much endless. Theft is the obvious one. Destruction of property - locks are not cheap. Anti-social behaviour; the list goes on. And, not forgetting the unseen damage such as those who relied on their bikes to get to jobs and to help others during these crazy times.

chrisos replied to chaos | 3 years ago

Yeah I was wondering what the punishment might look like... a few hours of litter picking probably won't be enough to deter them from opening up shop again straight away but 12 months locked up should do it

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

While the police get criticism when they get it wrong, let's applaud them when they get it right, so well done Chief Superintendent Steve Heatley and your team.  This kind of action should be a model for other forces to follow, as most of us have experienced the devastation when our pride and joy is stolen, let alone the long walk home, or the inconvenience of catching the bus or cadging lifts for the month it takes to get the insurance sorted and a new bike sourced.

Any new cyclist having their bike stolen is likely to just give up the whole thing and go back to whatever they used before, and that alone makes the police action worthwhile.

NPlus1Bikelights | 3 years ago

"“That said, please be reassured that we take cycle theft very seriously and won’t tolerate it in the City."

Meanwhile in Cambridge...

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