Bike theft in Sheffield city centre has plunged due to a police crackdown, a South Yorkshire inspector has said.
After a peak which saw up to 70 bicycles being stolen in a month in the city centre between October and November, South Yorkshire Police set out to clamp down on bike thieves.
And Inspector Neil Mutch told a meeting of the Sheffield city centre residents’ action group that the force had installed tracking chips on bikes, made arrests and ‘word had got around’ among thieves.
Bike thefts have blighted Sheffield.
Figures revealed under The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign showed a total of 4,734 bikes were stolen in three years in the city – and only 264 were recovered.
Insp Mutch said: “The issue we had in October to November was theft of pedal cycles, and we have had a lot of success tackling that.
“From mid-October to mid-November we had 70-odd bicycles stolen from the area.
“We started a lot of proactive work, including putting tracker chips in bicycles and we made a number of arrests from that, and the word has got around.
“We get about two or three a week now in the city centre, so that has been quite a positive turnaround.”
Insp Mutch said the theft of mobile phones was still an issue.
He said: “Even people with jeans on are having their mobiles taken out of their front pockets.
“The recent one is the ‘hugger mugger’. They approach someone, usually in a group, they are all friendly and hug someone, saying ‘have you had a good night’, ‘are you going to the game on Saturday’, or whatever.
“It’s only afterwards the victim realises their phone is missing.
“We are only talking about four or five in a weekend – we are not talking about an epidemic – but that’s something we’re focusing on.”