BIKE thieves have been arrested, stolen bikes recovered and more than 11,000 bikes security-marked by the Metropolitan Police’s Cycle Task Force, which is using Bikeregister as one of its initiatives to clampdown on bike theft in London.
The Cycle Task Force was established in June 2010 to combat bike theft in the Capital and involves a dedicated team of officers who patrol London's streets by bike, investigating and tackling cycle theft and criminal damage to bicycles. The team also run sessions on bike marking and registration and offer cyclists advice on how to lock up their bikes securely in order to deter theft.
Bikeregister marking kits are being used by the Cycle Task Force to help catch bike thieves in the act, leading to arrests; and also to aid identification of stolen bikes, resulting in recovery to the rightful owner.
The Bikeregister system involves permanently and visibly marking a bike with a unique ID code to prove ownership and placing the details of the bike on a secure database (http://www.bikeregister.com).
If a bike is stolen and then recovered, police can check the marking and log onto the database to quickly verify the true owner and reunite them with their bike. As part of the scheme, each bike owner is issued with a personal logbook as proof of ownership.
The importance of marking a bike to clearly identify it and make it stand out from the rest is illustrated in a recent case recalled by PC Robert Johnston, a member of the Cycle Task Force team.
“We arrested a man who was caught selling a stolen bike on the street," he said. "It then transpired he had a van-load of bikes, all stolen, which he was trying to sell-on quickly.”
PC Johnston continued: “On inspection, one of the bikes in the van had been marked with a Bikeregister marking and the others hadn't. The marked bike has since been reunited with its owner, while we are still trying to trace who the other bikes belong to. Without a marking this is a time-consuming and difficult, sometimes impossible task.”
Another recent incident involves a man who was subsequently arrested by the team when two stolen bikes together with a large pile of bike parts were found at his home address. One of the parts was a bike frame that had been marked with a Bikeregister marking and belonged to a £2,000 cycle that the man was stripping down to sell for spare parts.
PC Johnston said: “By marking a bike frame and the other main parts of a bike you are immediately making it much harder for thieves to be able to sell them on to someone else. The marking is an identifiable link to the real owner of the bike and this can be easily verified by checking the details on a national database.”
In the past month, the team has also apprehended a man on Blackfriars Bridge who was riding an unusual-looking bike.
“I was immediately suspicious that the bike was stolen,” PC Johnston said. “The man riding it was questioned about the bike and it turns out he had bought it innocently from someone at Spitalfields Market.
“The bike, which was worth around £300, was registered on Bikeregister and was quickly reunited with its real owner who had been visiting the market and had it stolen from there.”
PC Johnston concluded: “The man who was riding the bike was cautioned and had to give the bike up, teaching him a valuable lesson about the dangers of buying bikes off the street.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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