Police bid to curb increase in bike thefts

A NEW series of crime-prevention workshops is to take place in York in a bid to combat a dramatic rise in the number of bike thefts in the city, one of the worst blackspots for the crime in Britain.

There has been a huge increase in the number of bike thefts in York over the past few months, with busy public areas such as the university campus a particular target.

Mick Brown, manager and director of Bike Rescue Project in York and a member of the cycle theft strategy on Safer York Partnership, said the thieves were not targeting expensive bikes but ones that were easiest to steal before selling them on for as little as 10.

Now York Police are looking to step up a bike safety initiative called Operation Spoke in response to the rise.

Officers are hosting three sessions at St Mark's Church in Manor Close, Rawcliffe, where cyclists can attend to get their bicycles marked with an ultra-violet pen which contains a unique code.

The details are then entered onto a police database meaning lost and stolen bikes can be quickly reunited with their owners.

PCSO Chris Turner who is organising the event said: "Every cyclist who hasn't already had their bike marked is welcome.

"Many people will have received new cycles as Christmas presents and we urge them to take basic cycle security precautions.

"This is one way of deterring thieves. It only takes a couple of minutes and it could mean you having a stolen bicycle, potentially worth several hundred pounds, returned to you quickly."

Operation Spoke was launched in January 2010. More than 8,000 cycles have been registered in the past year.

The bike safety sessions take place on the following Saturdays, January 22, February 9 and March 19, between 10am and 12pm.

For further details please contact PCSO Chris Turner or PCSO Dave Ellison on 0845 60 60 247 or email SNTYork@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk