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Officers say case highlights value of registering your frame number on database

A London woman has been reunited with her stolen bike after police stopped a man for riding it on the pavement on the other side of the capital, with a check on the frame number revealing that it had been recorded as stolen on the BikeRegister database.

The 19-year-old man was cycling with his brother on a pavement on East London’s Bethnal Green Road when officers stopped them for what the police described as “anti-social behaviour.” *

PC Tom Newell checked the frame number and discovered it had been reported stolen in Hounslow, 13 miles away in West London. The man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and the happy owner was reunited with her bike on Monday 24 February.

Acting Police Sergeant Scott Manning, who was with PC Newell when the men were stopped, said: "We are delighted to have found the bike and returned it to its rightful owner.”

Often, when police recover stolen bikes, they are unable to give them back to the lawful owner because the crime has not been reported or there is no record of the frame number.

“It shows the value of recording frame numbers and taking some basic crime prevention advice to help you get your bike back in these cases,” continued APS Manning.

“We hold free bike marking events and anyone is welcome to come along and have their bike marked for free".

Police said that they were continuing to investigate the theft of the bike. Neither the name of the man arrested nor the woman the bike belonged to have been disclosed.

The Met have marked and registered 40,000 bikes on the Bike Register database in the last 12 months and its free register your bike on the system - which is nationwide, you can find it at www.bikeregister.com.

* The offence of cycling on the footway is actually covered under the Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888.

As we reported in January, transport minister Robert Goodwill has reconfirmed 1999 Home Office guidance that said:

"The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

13 comments

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Mart [110 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm glad she got her bike back, but sad that this is such a rare event it makes the news.
Lock it up even in your own garden or sheds with a sold secure lock silver or above through the frame.

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zeb [49 posts] 2 years ago
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The article does not say which database it is and what the procedure to record your frame number is.

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bikebot [1924 posts] 2 years ago
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If you go to one of the free Police marking events, the details go on BikeRegister. Your bike will be permanently etched with a unique number along with the frame number.

It's also worth registering it on Immobilise. That site is mostly used for mobile phones, but you can register any property including individual expensive gadgets such as GPS computers.

When there's a slow news day, it might be good for road.cc to write a little summary of these schemes.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done that copper!

Is it standard practice to check frame numbers on every bike the police stop? I don't remember them doing that here in Oxford, every time they do the annual stop-and-fine-for-no-lights. Maybe the thief was just seemed a bit dodgy;

"Is this your bike?"
"Ummm..."

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 2 years ago
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PJ McNally wrote:

Maybe the thief was just seemed a bit dodgy;

"Is this your bike?"
"Ummm..."

There's no suggestion he was the thief; may be someone who picked it up for a song down Brick Lane which isn't a million miles away.

Certainly when our bikes got stolen in E London one Sunday a few years back and we ran to Brick Lane and managed to get both (!) back, it was handling stolen goods that the purchasers got arrested for.

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armb [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Note that the guidelines say "show consideration to other pavement users when doing so". If they were cycling on the pavement without consideration for other pavement users, and that's why they were stopped, then saying they were stopped for anti-social behaviour seems fair enough.
(That's just speculation though, the police report doesn't give any clues as to whether that happened, or whether they just label all pavement cycling as anti-social - http://content.met.police.uk/News/Bike-restored-to-lady-owner/1400022889...)

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jchaseox [3 posts] 2 years ago
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I had the same thing happen to me a couple of years ago. I had a bike registered on Immobilise and kept all the paperwork. When the bike was stolen in 2009 i reported it and said that the frame number and details were on Immobilise.

A couple of years later i received a call out of the blue from City of London police. They had stopped a guy for another offense but when they got the bike to the station, the officer decided to check the frame number. What do you know, comes up through Immobilise that the bike is stolen. The officer told me he was very surprised and usually he doesn't check these things!!

Anyway, due to some legal issues, namely the crim jumping bail, i was reunited with my bike about 8 months later. I was impressed to see that whoever stole it took the effort to steal similar branded parts to keep it maintained!

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laterrehaute [25 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anyone know which cycle database to use. This article links to www.bikeregister.com but there is also www.immobilise.com that claims to be a national database used by the police. Do the police link into all of them or are they actually the same database behind the scenes?

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dafyddp [362 posts] 2 years ago
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Having read the article earlier in the week about the poor lad having his £8k bike nicked, it did make we wonder whether there might be a justification for registering all bikes after all. Just as with cars, anyone selling a bike would need to provide a log-book/registration document. it would make it more difficult to shift stolen bikes through gumtree/ebay/brick lane.

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bikebot [1924 posts] 2 years ago
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laterrehaute wrote:

Does anyone know which cycle database to use. This article links to www.bikeregister.com but there is also www.immobilise.com that claims to be a national database used by the police. Do the police link into all of them or are they actually the same database behind the scenes?

The Police will check both if they recover a stolen bike, but it's the BikeRegister system they use if you go to one of their free marking events.

BikeRegister supply the Police with the etching kits which you can also buy on their site. The etching is a unique serial number usually placed on the underside of the frame, and they will take a record of that along with your frame number. It's very much worth finding out about the marking events, it's a bit of extra security and it costs nothing.

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stolenbikes88 [3 posts] 2 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

The Police will check both if they recover a stolen bike, but it's the BikeRegister system they use if you go to one of their free marking events.

Actually they don't it very much depends on the force, for example my local force typically checks it's own database and then maybe Immobilise. Whilst Avon & Somerset check themselves, BikeRegister, Immobilise and Stolen Bristol Bikes. Some forces only check themselves and ignore the property registers.

Also different forces register to different systems, mine currently use Immobilise.

Personally I think just recording the frame number (if there is one) should be enough, the tax payer or cyclist shouldn't have to fork out £20 to mark something that already has a unique mark. You'll notice in this very article that they checked the frame number not the ID on the sticker.

I've got a full table of who checks what based on asking each force what they typically check, but one of the registers you mention is being so agressive after I tweeted a link to it that I'm having a solicitor look it over prior to publishing it again.

If however you'd be interested happy to share it privately via email (john [at] stolen-bikes.co.uk)

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cyclingDMlondon [488 posts] 2 years ago
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armb wrote:

Note that the guidelines say "show consideration to other pavement users when doing so". If they were cycling on the pavement without consideration for other pavement users, and that's why they were stopped, then saying they were stopped for anti-social behaviour seems fair enough.
(That's just speculation though, the police report doesn't give any clues as to whether that happened, or whether they just label all pavement cycling as anti-social - http://content.met.police.uk/News/Bike-restored-to-lady-owner/1400022889...)

I really hate it when cyclists cite the 'tolerance' that is supposed to be shown to cyclists who use the pavement (I'm not saying that you cited this, but am just piggy-backing on your post.. 'hope you don't mind).

It seems that this 'tolerance' is where the road is dangerous, or narrow or whatever. However, around where I work (near St Paul's in London), I suspect that most cyclists who use the pavement do so because there's a one-way system and they're too f*****g bone idle to go around the block.

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edster99 [336 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm guessing the etching doesn't work on Carbon?