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Are specialists targeting high-end bikes?

Wiltshire police are warning of a rise in bike thefts in Swindon after thieves stole five bikes worth £20,000.

During the night of May 7, thieves broke into a garage in Taw Hill, North Swindon and took bikes including a Pinarello Dogma and a Specialized Venge.

Police have warned residents to look out for suspicious activity and to have appealed for anyone with information about the recent thefts to contact them.

PCSO Emma Harriman told the Swindon Advertiser’s Dominic Gilbert: “Bikes are a very popular item to be stolen. They are easy to make disappear without being obvious about it. If it is not secure it will frequently fall victim to opportunists.

“We have had some incidents where they have been inside garages but they haven’t been secure.

“What is slightly more concerning in the last couple of days is that we had a few incidents, specifically in Taw Hill, where some high-value bikes have been stolen.

“This particular incident is very different to previous ones. There are a lot of bikes going missing from all over Swindon, but there appears to be two different types of incident going on.

“This has happened overnight between May 7 and 8 at a house in Taw Hill. They have forced entry into the garage. The bikes were secured inside the garage, and in total five bikes and a remote control car were taken.

“One of the bikes, a Pinarello Dogma racing cycle, in black with a fluorescent yellow seat, is worth around £8,000, and was in brand new condition.

“The second bicycle, a Specialized Venge S-Works racing cycle in red white and black, costs between £6,000 and £8,000.

“A third cycle, a Specialized Crux cyclo-cross bike in red and white, is worth around £1,800. Costings for the other two bikes are not yet clear.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Many of the bikes taken have been expensive and specialist models, which have been secured inside the garage, but the offenders have used tools to break in and take the items. Anyone with information which could help to trace these burglars should be called in on 101 as soon as possible.

“Cyclists are being asked to take as many precautions as possible to protect their property, be wary of anyone who appears to be taking particular notice of your bike, and ensure that expensive models are insured or covered by your home policy.

“It is also important to make sure you have a photograph of your bike, keep a note of the frame number or any distinguishing marks, and have some proof of ownership if you can.

“You can register your bike on sites such as Immobilise to make sure this information is recorded.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

18 comments

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tom_w [219 posts] 3 years ago
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There are a lot of reports of mountain bikes being stolen shortly after the owners have been followed home from trail centres and other popular riding locations. I guess it's a possibility in this case too if the owners compete or do sportives, especially if they carry the bikes on the roof of the car. It's worth keeping an eye on the rear view mirror and doing a couple of loops of some roundabouts on the way home.

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al_bullit [5 posts] 3 years ago
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Its also worth being careful with publishing your GPS data. If I look at the Strava heatmap of my local estate I can easily spot houses of at least a dozen folk who ride often.

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zanf [932 posts] 3 years ago
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al_bullit wrote:

Its also worth being careful with publishing your GPS data. If I look at the Strava heatmap of my local estate I can easily spot houses of at least a dozen folk who ride often.

There is a setting to block out your data for about 1 mile around your house.

https://www.strava.com/settings/privacy

Then set a privacy zone around your address. If you put a big road near your house, rather than a specific address, it will block out quite a large area.

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 3 years ago
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Now I'm paranoid that some dimwit will mistake my bike for an expensive model and come round to relieve me of it.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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I really hope some of the tracker technologies that are slowly dropping in price are going to start impacting bike crime. I wonder how much it would add to the cost of a bike if they all had an NFC identity tag fixed into the frame at manufacture? Probably pennies.

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djpalmer32 [88 posts] 3 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

I really hope some of the tracker technologies that are slowly dropping in price are going to start impacting bike crime. I wonder how much it would add to the cost of a bike if they all had an NFC identity tag fixed into the frame at manufacture? Probably pennies.

Bike Register do a RFID tag for £22.99
https://www.bikeregister.com/shop/bikeregister/rfid

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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djpalmer32 wrote:

Bike Register do a RFID tag for £22.99
https://www.bikeregister.com/shop/bikeregister/rfid

Yeah, that's a mad markup. RFID & NFC are related, but slightly different things, but the tags for either still cost pennies. What I would prefer is for the bike manufacturers to agree on a standard and build it in during production, so that it's cheap, widespread and can't be removed without destroying the frame.

It's interesting that at the moment phone manufacturers are coming under huge pressure (and new laws in America) to build in remote kill switch functionality. Yet bike theft in most cities is at a similar level and receives nowhere near as much attention.

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kamoshika [217 posts] 3 years ago
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Is there any consensus on which site is best to use for recording bikes? All of mine are on Bike Register, but there seem to be several others out there.

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markfireblade [53 posts] 3 years ago
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Everyone should get their bike(s) Datatagged. It doesn't cost much.

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matthewn5 [1036 posts] 3 years ago
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I had mine on Immobilise.com with RFID tags in the frames but then I came across BikeRegister.com and that's the one the Met appear to be using. They permanently marked the bike I ride to work with BikeRegister.com, at one of their roadside stands in Hackney. The PC who did it said they don't use Immobilise any more, and don't have equipment to read the tags Immobilise sells.

All a bit confusing, because Immobilise specifically say on the website that the Police do have RFID reading capability.

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crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
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Another theft of expensive bikes from a 'secure' garage...

The first lesson about bike security is to consider the value then consider how comfortable you would be to leave a clear suitcase with the equivalent amount of money in, in the same place.

Bikes have doubled, tripled, quadrupled in price over the past few years and, frame numbers apart, are essentially untraceable. They are easy to take, easy to dispose of and, as is increasingly well illustrated, so bloody easy to steal.

All the above tracking and/or tracing fancy stuff is a waste of time if you can't stop the theft in the first place...

If I had a £6000 Spesh or an £8000 Pinarello, I would make room for them IN MY HOUSE; it's not hard, it's not difficult, it's sensible.

I suspect insurance companies will be looking more and more at how such expensive items are stored, and premiums will rise as a result.

In addition, I would also expect another visit from the stealy fellas after 6 months or so; they know where the bikes are, they know they'll be replaced...

No doubt I'll be accused of victim blaming; I don't care, stop thinking bikes should live in sheds or garages, take the value and ease of disposal seriously and cut the theft problem.

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Miles253 [198 posts] 3 years ago
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crikey wrote:

If I had a £6000 Spesh or an £8000 Pinarello, I would make room for them IN MY HOUSE; it's not hard, it's not difficult, it's sensible.

I totally agree, if you have the. Money to own these things and a garage to put them in, there is surely space in your house, somewhere.

Anybody know how effective tagging your bike is? Can it be traced like find my IPhone type deals?

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mikem22 [22 posts] 3 years ago
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After a spate of thefts in Edinburgh, including two of my cycling buddies, I decided I needed to be careful:

1. RFID the bike. Used Immobilse but also recorded the data on Bike Register too.
2. Photograph the bike and the numbers.
3. Additional security on garage Access to slow down entry
4. PIR device in Garage, one which texts my mobile as well as sounding alarm (not as expensive as you might think).
5. Ground Anchor in floor and steel chain for bikes
6. Never start a Strava ride from house, always from a couple of streets away.
7. My bike on Strava is a 1984 Raleigh Rapide.. my bike in real life is something a little more modern.
8. My Strava profile is NOT public.
9. I never pull into my drive if there are people or cars about, I will always go around the block again (though I live on a fairly quiet street so lucky in this respect).
10. Don't record Map Location on TT sessions in garage.

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cyclegaz [9 posts] 3 years ago
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With a little bit of knowledge of strava and their api, it is fairly easy to find out what area the privacy zone is hiding and more often than not the center point of the heat map is over the owners house.

For obvious reasons I won't go into detail as to how you do this.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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Miles253 wrote:

Anybody know how effective tagging your bike is? Can it be traced like find my IPhone type deals?

Tags can't be traced, only GPS trackers can do that and they'll probably remain relatively expensive.

If bikes used NFC tags as I'd like (or dual standard NFC/RFID tags), you'd be able to read it with just a smartphone. They would allow anyone buying an expensive bike to easily check it (and thus ensure they're not handling stolen goods), The Police could also do spot check at bike parks, such as those at mainline railway stations.

It's really about cutting off the demand. You can't stop people from stealing bikes just by arresting those doing it, as there's always another person ready to take their place. If you start making it difficult for people to own or buy a stolen bike, fewer will be stolen in the first place.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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drmatthewhardy wrote:

I had mine on Immobilise.com with RFID tags in the frames but then I came across BikeRegister.com and that's the one the Met appear to be using. They permanently marked the bike I ride to work with BikeRegister.com, at one of their roadside stands in Hackney. The PC who did it said they don't use Immobilise any more, and don't have equipment to read the tags Immobilise sells.

All a bit confusing, because Immobilise specifically say on the website that the Police do have RFID reading capability.

When this came up once before, I think the answer was that it depends on which force covers your area.

In London the Met seem to use BikeRegister, and it's their kit that they use at the free bike marking events. I use both, I got my bikes marked via the Police and then put the details (frame number and bikeregister serial) onto immobilise. All free, so no reason not to take a belts and braces approach.

You can also use immobilise for devices, such as Garmin's etc. No idea whether the Police will check those if they are ever recovered, but it's useful to have all the details and serial numbers in one place if you are insured.

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rowes [89 posts] 3 years ago
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http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/

Seems an affordable option (especially in comparison to an £8k bike).
Though I prefer keeping my (not £8k) bike inside and about 4 ft away from our dog's bed.

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manox432 [8 posts] 3 years ago
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Simple. Lock it up with the most expensive, good quality locks (plural) you can possibly afford at all times. Don't simply think it's safe because it's in your garage, shed or house...
A good quality lock will last a lifetime, and multiple heavy attacks from those pesky thieves.

Also agree with the Strava thing. Don't publish what bike your on!ight as well hang your pride and joy in the window with a sign saying "free bike" on for all to see.

Always assume your bike is never safe, and lock it up as if you would on a high street.