IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Bicycle thefts hit a nine-year high

‘Police don’t consider a bike as someone’s main form of transport,’ claim disgruntled victims

21 August, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Simon Izod on his handmade bamboo bike

BIKE thefts have hit a nine-year peak as cyclists claim that police do not take the crime seriously enough when it is reported.

In June alone there were 160 reports of bicycle thefts in Islington, while in July there was 144.

You have to go as far back as 2011 to see similar figures. However, in that time bike theft “sanction detections” have remained stagnant with months going by without a conviction.

Cyclist Simon Izod said that in the 15 years he has lived in the borough he has had five bikes stolen, while his partner has had three. Two of the bikes, one of them a bamboo bike he made and rode to the Arctic Circle, were stolen from a secure storage unit in Drummond Way, Barnsbury.

He said: “We had clear CCTV of the incident with the boys identifiable and we handed it to the police. But nothing came of it. It’s very frustrating.”

The Met maintain that they made an effort to contact the victims of the crime but the case was closed when they did not receive a response.

Mr Izod said: “In the end one of my bikes, a bamboo bike I had made myself, was found by a stranger dumped in the middle of the road in Stoke Newington.

“I had put a message on Twitter which went viral and I think this guy eventually saw it and I went and picked up the bike. It was incredible to have it back.”

He added: “I think there is a cultural issue where the police don’t consider a bike someone’s main form of transport. That was the attitude I got from the police. If it is a car that gets stolen I feel there is much more of a priority.”

Nick Kocharhook, a spokesman for the Cycle Islington group, said: “For most people, cycling is now the best option for getting to work, school, and the shops. Now more than ever, a stolen bike is a devastating setback for key workers and parents.

“The police need to target the small number of thieves preying on cyclists.”

A police spokeswoman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service takes bicycle theft seriously and recognises the distress this crime causes its victims. Officers carry out all reasonable lines of enquiry to recover the property and bring any suspect to justice.

“Just this month, officers from the neighbouring Central East Basic Command Unit recovered 118 stolen bicycles worth more than £30,000 after executing a warrant in Hackney after the stolen bikes were advertised online.

“Two men aged 21 and 60 were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and possession of criminal property. They have both been bailed to return on a date in August.

“Anyone who has a bicycle is urged to get it security marked and registered at BikeRegister – this helps officers return stolen property to its owner, and it also helps to bring prosecutions.”

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