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.