Organised gangs going high tech to steal cycles

Crime news
Crime news

Organised gangs are using the latest technology to steal bikes in Sheffield.

A total of 4,734 bikes were stolen in the city over the past three years - and only 265, or 5%, were recovered.

More than 500 bikes were taken from the city centre, and other hotspots included Western Bank, near the University of Sheffield, and Ecclesall Road.

Some 28 bikes were taken during the Tour de France weekend.

Mick Nott, chair of Cycle Sheffield, said: “A lot of people don’t even report it.

“They know they have no hope of seeing their bike again. The really worrying thing is bike thefts are not just opportunistic. There are gangs going through town and using technology like cycling tracker Strava to steal people’s bikes.

“Bike theft just puts people off cycling when what is needed in Sheffield is more secure cycle parking so people don’t have to lock them up on railings.

“Our suggestion is that every time a multi-storey car park is built we need to make sure the ground floor is secure cycle parking.”

Sheffield City Council last week approved a 19-point strategy aimed at encouraging more people to take to two wheels, aiming to harness enthusiasm in the wake of the Tour de France.

Three enclosed cycle hubs are planned - a 24-hour centre in the city centre, one at Meadowhall and one at Graves Leisure Centre.

A cycle hub has opened recently at the railway station and the University of Sheffield is preparing to open one off Western Bank.

Grants are also available for organisations to improve their cycle parking.

Council senior transport planner Paul Sullivan, a cyclist who has had his own bike stolen, said: “It is a priority for us and since 2007 we have increased the number of cycle stands by between 20 and 30 a year, mainly by public request.

“The first thing we do is encourage every cyclist to have two locks – a D-lock and something on the front wheel as well.

“If you have two locks you will be really unlucky to have your bike nicked.

“It is worth that investment.”