More than 3,400 bikes stolen in Norfolk since 2016
PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:10 08 August 2018
More than 3,400 bicycles have been recorded as stolen in Norfolk since 2016.
New figures reveal the equivalent of four bikes were taken every day across Norfolk in the past two-and-a-half years.
Based on an average cost of £480 per bike, a total of £1.7m-worth have been stolen since January 2016 to July 11, 2018.
Figures from Norfolk Police show Norwich is the county’s hot spot for bike crime, with 802 thefts reported in 2017.
Meanwhile, King’s Lynn has seen the biggest spike in offences, rising from 178 thefts in 2016 to 248 last year.
Norfolk Police said they were doing everything they could to trace stolen bikes and catch those responsible for stealing them.
But chief inspector Lynne Cross said cycle theft continued to be an issue in Norwich.
Chris Read, who runs a Facebook page for people to report stolen items in Great Yarmouth, said the figures were “not surprising”.
The 43-year-old said his teenage son’s bike was stolen from outside Lidl in Southtown, Great Yarmouth, on July 10.
He said: “Based on what I have seen before the police do not seem interested at all.
“It took me four days to get a crime number and then a week later we got an email back saying the incident had been filed.”
Mr Read believed the actual bike theft figure could be much higher, claiming not everyone reported it to police.
He said: “The Facebook page I run is for people to report all sorts of stolen items, but push bikes make up the majority.
“Everyday we are getting new reports in. I thought the figure would be much higher.”
Police figures show the number of recorded crimes for bike theft increased by 4pc between 2016 and 2017 in Norwich.
But from January to July 11 this year there has been just 290 offences, indicating a possible decline.
Overall in Norfolk, there were 1,473 reports of bike theft in 2017, up from 1,401 in 2016.
Chief Insp Lynne Cross said: “Cycle theft continues to be an issue in the city.
“However, a combination of working with partners, including Norwich City Council, Norwich BID [Business Improvement District] and the cycling community will ensure we can impact the ease with which cycles are obtained.
“We would ask people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity.
“The police response to thefts of cycles across Norwich over the last 18 months has already significantly impacted the number of cycles being stolen.
“The issue for police continues to be the ability to return property when found.”
A police spokesman said if there were lines of enquiry the incident would be investigated.
However, the spokesman said if a bike was found it could be difficult to locate the owner.
“We actively encourage people to register their bikes on Bike Register,” the police spokesman said.
“Individuals can do this themselves by accessing the Bike Register website or by attending one of our advertised cycle marking events.
“These are held at various locations throughout the county.”
According to the charity Cycling UK, the average price of a bike is around £480. But many cycles can now cost in excess of £2,000.
City councillor Mike Stonard said his £700 bike was taken from outside the Forum on May 16 this year.
But he had it returned last week after it was picked up by a pawnbroker on St Benedicts Street.
The Labour councillor said: “It was a nice bike and was only a couple of years old. But they [thieves] broke the lock and took it.
“I initially looked on websites like Gumtree and everyone said you will never see it again.
“But I got the frame number and went to a pawnbroker on Benedicts Street, and the bike did come in.
“They then contacted police and I got it back last week.”
He recommended people to get their bike frames recorded online and to invest in a good lock.
The free classified advert website Gumtree has become a popular platform for selling and buying bikes online.
A spokesman for the company said: “We do not tolerate the listing of stolen bikes on our platform and have measures in place to ensure that Gumtree is a safe place to buy bikes and accessories.
“We encourage users to report anything suspicious to us through the ‘report’ button that sits alongside every ad on the website.
“Our dedicated safety team will then investigate.
“When searching for a bike on Gumtree, we recommend asking the seller for the frame number or registration number which can then be verified through websites such as Bike Register.”
What the figures show
Police figures show the overall number of recorded bike thefts in Norfolk increased between 2016 and 2017 from 1,401 to 1,473.
But While Norwich, King’s Lynn and North Norfolk saw a rise, the figures fell elsewhere in the county.
The figures show that between 2016 and 2017, recorded bike thefts fell from:
• 72 to 68 in Breckland
• 60 to 53 in Broadland
• 221 to 208 in Great Yarmouth
• 69 to 54 in South Norfolk
Meanwhile, offences in Norwich increased from 772 to 802, and from 179 to 249 in King’s Lynn.
North Norfolk saw a small increase from 23 in 2016 to 29 last year.
Recorded bike theft figures from January to July 11, 2018, show:
• Breckland – 25
• Broadland – 27
• Great Yarmouth – 113
• King’s Lynn – 109
• North Norfolk – 12
• Norwich – 290
• South Norfolk – 22
• Not recorded – 8
What cyclists in the city had to say
Nicki Medlik, 53, from Upper St Giles Street, said: “I’ve never felt entirely safe leaving my bikes locked up around Norwich.
“Since having moved here from London five years ago I’ve had three bikes stolen in the city centre and I’d never had any trouble in London.”
Chris Turner, 54, from Thorpe St Andrew, said: “I never feel entirely comfortable leaving it but I take my chances.
“A solution would be to make a national register like they do with car engines.
“It used to be the case that bikes were inexpensive enough to not warrant it, but as they’re getting quite expensive now I can see that starting to change.”
Alex Siemons, 20, from Aylsham Road, said: “I feel if I keep mine [my bike] looking as shabby as it does it won’t be appealing to anyone but you never know.
“They’re hard to trace and fun to use, so it makes sense why people would take them but in my mind a lot of the thieves would be deterred if there were cameras around bike parking stations.”
Advice for bike owners
Norfolk Police has this advice for bike owners:
• Invest in a good quality lock for your bicycle to no less than CEN security grade 3-4. D locks are the most effective and a worthwhile investment
• Use a lock to secure the bike-stand, wheel rim and frame together making it more difficult for a thief to steal it
• Never leave your bike unlocked in a public place
• Find a suitable location to leave and secure your bike; dark alleys, drain-pipes and posts should not be used
• Get your bike security marked by your local Safer Neighbourhood Team making it readily identifiable should it be recovered
• Consider registering your bike using a third party service to further protect it such as Bike Register or Immobilise
• Bikes kept in garages and sheds in particular should be properly secured. Alternatively if there is room, inside the home is the most secure location to store your bike.