Caroline Peacock writes:
“Dear friends, I have received a Police message about a recent upsurge in bike thefts. It has come to me from a Councillor in the Darlington area, where apparently the problem is acute, but the advice it contains is very sound and, knowing that many people in our area have bikes for use in Hamsterley Forest and the nearby lanes, I felt it was worth passing on. I hope it may be of use.”
Over recent weeks we have seen an increase in cycle thefts: cycles are primarily being stolen from sheds, garages and back yards. We would ask that, if you have a high value cycle, you take appropriate measures to ensure it is stored safely. At the moment, during the long, dark, winter nights, we would recommend that your cycle is kept indoors if at all possible.
It is essential that you document your cycle: keep a record of the serial number, and take a photograph of it. Consider registering it on a site like http://www.immobilise.com/ and also consider marking it with a domestic forensic marking product such as SmartWater (kits are available from Darlington Neighbourhood Watch Association at £10 each).
Most stolen bikes are targeted for one simple reason – they are left unlocked and unattended, sometimes ‘only for a moment’. You should always lock your bike whenever you are not riding it, even if it is at home, in your garage or in your yard.
Look out for cycle locks which are ‘sold secure’. Lock your cycle to a metal structure that is securely fastened in cement, and which cannot be easily cut or dismantled. Never lock your bike to a wooden railing or small tree. Use a proper locking technique to secure your cycle – many cyclists who have used a good quality U-lock to lock their bike to a bike rack by the front wheel have returned to find the front wheel still locked to the rack, and the rest of the bike gone.