Police have launched a national campaign to tackle the growing number of bike thefts happening across Scotland.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a downward trend in various other crimes, Police Scotland’s year-to-date figures from February 2021 showed more than 4,900 reports of stolen bikes.
That is a rise of 18% from the previous year.
The Pedal Protect campaign, with support from the British Transport Police, kicked off today in response to the increase.
It has been supported by renowned Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont, who attended the launch.
Mr Beaumont, who broke the world record for cycling around the world, said: “A bike can cost anything from a couple of hundred pounds, to several thousand pounds, but no matter what you pay, the feeling you get when your bike is stolen is the same.
“It’s devastating when a valued possession is taken from you and that’s why it’s so important to make sure you take all the necessary steps to keep your own bike safe.
“Having been the victim of a bike theft myself, I know how much distress it causes and that’s why I would urge all cyclists to consider the security they currently have in place for their bikes and ask themselves, are these measures sufficient?”
Crimes like these are often motivated by opportunity.
Thieves can take advantage of poor or non-existent security measures when bikes are left unattended or when they’re stored in sheds or garages.
‘Resold for hefty prices’
In order to improve bike security, officers across the country will be hosting a range of bike marking events.
Detective Superintendent Matt Paden said: “Despite the significant sums of money people spend on a bike, the amount spent on security pales in comparison.
“Stealing a bike is often seen as an attractive option for those involved in acquisitive crime, as to do so is normally a quick process, with modest security measures in place, easy to overcome.
“While bike theft typically takes place to allow thieves to make a quick sale, we now believe more expensive custom bikes are being targeted by organised crime groups so they can be resold for hefty prices, which fund their criminal operations.
It’s devastating when a valued possession is taken from you.
“We have launched Pedal Protect because we will be conducting a range of intelligence-led activity to return stolen bikes to their rightful owners, but also to encourage all of those who currently own, or who are considering buying a bike, to invest in appropriate security.”
Earlier this month, more than £3,000 of bike equipment was stolen from a garage on the Black Isle.
Thieves entered the insecure garage in the Culbokie area before making off with several high-value hybrid bikes and other equipment.
Among the items stolen was a Black Cube electric Hybrid bicycle made by Bosch with a battery pack fitted on the crossbar, and a charging pack.