City Watch


Police have issued a warning to cyclists after 33 bikes were stolen in Leicester city centre in just two weeks.

Officers urged riders to take simple security measures, such as investing in sturdy D-locks, after the higher than average run of thefts in the past fortnight. In some cases, police said, the stolen bikes were ‘secured’ with flimsy chains which could be snipped with a pair of garden secateurs. As well as the message to cyclists, officers are also patrolling theft hot-spots – including a plain-clothes operation – to track down the thieves.

Inspector Simon Preston, commander of city centre police, said: “In most cases we’re talking about fairly cheap chain locks. We can’t say that bikes secured with D-locks are never stolen, but they certainly make life harder for thieves and it will take them a long time to steal the bike. One of the victims from the other day let us keep the chain from his bike. It was probably half an inch thick. But where it was cut you could see it was mostly plastic and the actual metal chain inside was no more than 5mm thick. We talk a lot about cycle thieves using bolt-croppers, but you could cut that chain with a pair of secateurs.”

Police also recommend people park their cycles in more secure areas such as the Bike Park at Town Hall Square and Leicester railway station. The number of bike thefts in the city fluctuates month by month, but in the 2012/13 financial year the total was approximately 500, rising to 573 in 2013/14. The number is predicted to rise to 650 this year, Insp Preston said.

Other police advice includes urging people to keep good-quality photographs of their bikes and to make a note of features such as the frame, the saddle and gears. Valuables, including bikes, can also be registered on a free national database, which helps police return lost or stolen goods to their owners and also helps prosecute offenders.


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Pictures by Louise Kelham Photography

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