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Cyclist slams police who failed to act despite pictures showing bikes being stolen in broad daylight

West Yorkshire Police admits handling of bike theft call “fell short” of standards after the investigation was initially closed despite a member of public taking a photo of the suspects stealing bikes in Leeds

West Yorkshire Police have admitted that the handling of a call from a member of the public who witnessed bikes being stolen in Leeds city centre on Saturday afternoon “fell short of what victims of crime should reasonably expect,” with the force reopening its investigation into the thefts.

The bikes, stolen from where they had been parked close to Kirkgate Market in Leeds city centre, were a black 29" wheel Charge Cooker Mountain Bike frame number MT0153 and a Blue Tern Vektron folding e-bike, both described by Pete Zanzoterra, posting on Twitter, as “quite rare.”

He wrote: “Thanks to the member of the public that sent through these images of our bikes being stolen on Saturday. Unfortunately @WestYorksPolice are not prepared to follow up with CCTV, and the images aren’t clear enough for them to do anything. So in Leeds it’s up to you to investigate!”

A number of people replying to his tweet shared their own experiences of having bikes stolen in Leeds city centre, which according to the website UKCrimeStats ranked third in England & Wales in terms of cycle theft (excluding as part of a domestic burglary) during January 2023, with 32 reported stolen, only Cardiff and York Outer recording higher levels.

Four other neighbourhoods in Yorkshire’s largest city – Leeds South, Leeds North West, Leeds East and Leeds West – also featured in the top 13 of policing areas with the most bikes reported stolen during the month.

Others suggested that the perpetrators might already be known to the police.

In a statement provided to, Inspector Patrick Kenning, who leads the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

“We recognise that our handling of this call fell short of what a victim of crime should reasonably expect from West Yorkshire Police and will be addressing this through further training in the contact centre.

“We are speaking with the caller to reassure them that we are investigating this matter using the images provided and carrying out further enquiries to identify and take appropriate action against those responsible,” he added.

“West Yorkshire Police fully supports and encourages the use of sustainable transport in Leeds and the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to hold regular bicycle marking events in the city centre.

“These events through the Bike Register scheme have resulted in more than 4,000 bikes being security marked in Leeds over the last year and also led to a reduction in bicycle thefts across the district.”

The force’s website contains pictures of dozens of people that police want to trace in connection with various crimes committed within the territory it patrols, some of whom may be suspects, others witnesses.

Included in the ‘Do you recognise …’ gallery are a number of pictures of people officers would like to speak to in connection with thefts of bicycles within Leeds, including in the city centre.

Mr Zanzottera, who works as a self-employed sustainable transport consultant and is based in Leeds, told “The police have re-opened the case and pursuing some leads.

“The bikes were secured through the Sheffield stand by two Abus 'scissor' locks which were cut and left at the scene.

“There is no evidence to say how they did it, but they are fairly high security locks, so it would have to be an angle grinder, or very powerful bolt croppers,” he added.

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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