Bike thefts slashed and thief jailed in Southport police clampdown

Plain clothes operation results in man being stopped after stealing £700 mountain bike

by Simon_MacMichael   March 31, 2014  

Ollie the tea-leaf

Merseyside Police say that a crackdown on bike thieves in Southport, including plain clothes officers being deployed, has led to the number of bicycles reported stolen there each week falling by up to 80 per cent.

In one week earlier this year, 15 bikes were stolen in the seaside town which lies some 16 miles north of Liverpool, but police say that has now dropped to around three a week, reports the Southport Visiter.

One thief was caught red handed by officers in February as he tried to make off with a £700 mountain bike that its 18-year-old owner had locked up outside a branch of Poundland where he worked.

A search revealed that Anthony Earle, from Bootle, had a pair of bolt cutters on him and has since been jailed for 16 weeks for the theft.

Inspector Darren Wilson said: "This was a highly satisfying arrest as Earle had brazenly cut the lock of this young man's expensive bike right outside his workplace and ridden it away.

“Clearly he did not care that the owner would have finished work and ended up distraught that something belonging to him had been stolen.

“This arrest shows that we take acquisitive crime in Southport very seriously and understand the impact that bike theft, shop lifting, pick pocketing and general anti-social behaviour in the town centre can have on decent, ordinary, law-abiding people.

“Plain clothes patrols are an extremely effective tactic in tackling the most prolific offenders. Those criminals can never be sure who is watching them and at what point they might be arrested.

He added: “My message to them is: do not bother coming to Southport to commit crime. You will be arrested and you will be put before the courts."

13 user comments

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Encouraging to hear that when the Police put in the resources, it makes a tangible difference. The challenge of course, is how to maintain the momentum. Without wishing to sound judgemental, we really need to encourage owners of £700 bikes not to use locks that are susceptible to bolt-cutters. Hand-in-hand with this, I think manufacturers should be encouraged to think about security - no one would ever buy a car that lacked door and ignition locks.

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [142 posts]
31st March 2014 - 11:27

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So what level of Sold Secure bike locks (the chain type, not D-locks) are generally safe from the bolt cutter-wielding thief? Sold Secure Gold? I have several Abus locks, which offer a range up to 15. I'm hoping level 10 is sufficient, even though I do have 1 of them at level 15.

Any experience on this forum?

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [86 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:01

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The general rule of thumb with Sold Secure is

Bronze - 1 minute of protection
Silver - Up to 5 minutes of protection
Gold - 5 Minutes+ of protection

Generally a good quality Dlock is secure from boltcroppers but can be removed with a battery angle grinder (noisy), whilst a good quality chain is secure from the angle grinder (the links move all over the place if you don't put it on the ground) but can be removed with boltcroppers.

Once you get a good quality Dlock it's more about lock placement at the moment, as not many thieves carry around angle grinders but use a lock popping technique instead which is only made possible with bad lock placement.

posted by stolenbikes88 [2 posts]
31st March 2014 - 13:15

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I've had a few experiences with bike thieves over the years, and would offer these observations.

Bike thieves love cable locks.

The public and likely your neighbours are astonishingly good at ignoring suspicious behaviour up to and including loud hammering and power tools.

Bikes thieves return to the same locations. If you think your bike has been interfered with, or a component removed, lock it somewhere else.

Even if you do actually catch someone, prepare to be disappointed. The CPS seem to take the matter much less seriously than the Police.

posted by bikebot [441 posts]
31st March 2014 - 14:07

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You'll like the ending to this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc980QOS-ao

posted by farrell [1289 posts]
31st March 2014 - 14:35

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stolenbikes88 wrote:
The general rule of thumb with Sold Secure is

Bronze - 1 minute of protection
Silver - Up to 5 minutes of protection
Gold - 5 Minutes+ of protection

Once you get a good quality Dlock it's more about lock placement at the moment, as not many thieves carry around angle grinders but use a lock popping technique instead which is only made possible with bad lock placement.

Irwin Record 42" Bolt Cutters - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdugFzCi24#t=404

Gold rated d-locks including the fuggedaboutit, gone in ten seconds.

Thankfully, that is out of the league of the common bike thief, but it's why you shouldn't leave a bike locked up on the street overnight. Even the best lock can be broken quickly and quietly.

posted by bikebot [441 posts]
31st March 2014 - 15:20

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Great news, the focus on this, but they really mangle stats with that "up to 80%" line.

posted by vbvb [220 posts]
31st March 2014 - 16:06

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More importantly how can some one working at Poundland afford a £700 MTB?

Airzound

posted by Airzound [202 posts]
31st March 2014 - 19:08

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A Crime Prevention Officer once told me that crime prevention was all about smoke and mirrors.

If a skilled, intelligent and determined thief wants something - he will take it: If a skilled, intelligent and determined thief wants to be in somewhere - he will be in there. You will NEVER deter the skilled, intelligent and determined thief. That's the bad news; the good news is that they are very few and far between.

At the other end of the scale is the opportunistic idiot. He is will take what he can grab. He is not very bright and tends to get caught a lot and usually quite easily. He is a nuisance who causes more loss through damage than loss through theft. That's the good news; the bad news is that there are a lot of them and collectively they cause a lot of trouble.

This will leave about 15 - 20% who are the real problem. Some are skilled, some are intelligent, some are determined but they are never all three. Here is where the smoke and mirrors comes in. Make it look not worth their while, make them have to be out in the open, make it look like it will take them too long, make it look like they will make too much noise and attract attention. Make them go away and look elsewhere.

You might have a lock that you could open with a lolly stick, but if it looks like he is going to spend twenty noisy minutes out in the open he's going to go elsewhere.

Hey Presto! Ala Kazam!

posted by levermonkey [326 posts]
31st March 2014 - 19:22

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Airzound wrote:
More importantly how can some one working at Poundland afford a £700 MTB?

Perhaps they saved up for it. It does happen you know.

Or are employees of Poundland not allowed to darken the doors of bicycle shops above the level of Halfords or Evans?

posted by freespirit1 [141 posts]
31st March 2014 - 19:23

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Irwin Record 42" bolt croppers about £200, plus a van, clipboard, hi-vis vests, fake i.d. and a good bullshit line about the council needing to relocate the bikes because of something going on later. Total outlay (excluding van) £250.

If questioned by a bike owner turning up "Signs must have been taken down by vandals, Guv! Here's a form detailing how you can get compensation for your lock."

How many thousand pounds worth of bikes do you think they would get away with? People are naturally shy of approaching people with confidence and a clipboard. Devil

If you don't think this is credible ask the council who lost 200yrds of York stone paving over a weekend. No-one questioned the theives taking it because they thought it was the council. No-one from the council who drove or walked past the scene over the next two weeks questioned it because it must have been sanctioned by another department. It was only when people started asking when the works were going to be finished and couldn't the council tidy it up a bit that the penny started to drop.

It's all about front!

posted by levermonkey [326 posts]
31st March 2014 - 19:52

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its really simple

never risk leaving any bike you care about keeping, locked on the street

seen too many thefts in London, even with the "highest rated and approved" bike locks which means bugger all to a thief with a battery powered angle grinder or large bolt croppers

posted by hampstead_bandit [118 posts]
31st March 2014 - 20:14

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freespirit1 wrote:
Airzound wrote:
More importantly how can some one working at Poundland afford a £700 MTB?

Perhaps they saved up for it. It does happen you know.

Or are employees of Poundland not allowed to darken the doors of bicycle shops above the level of Halfords or Evans?

They may even have financed it. Who or how is neither here nor there. They can buy whatever they want with their hard earned cash and they have the right not to expect it to be stolen by some lazy arse wipe.

posted by BigglesMeister [16 posts]
31st March 2014 - 20:58

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