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Image goes viral but no arrests so far

There is something quite disturbing about the image above.

The calm, determined way in which two men go about the task of stealing a bike suggests that they regularly carry out this activity. You might even label them “professionals” if such a description did not somehow dignify the activity of bike-thieving.

The picture was taken outside the Alwyne Castle pub on St Pauls Road, Islington London on Saturday by a patron who realized that they were probably witnessing a crime. But having snapped the crooks, by the time the alarm was raised the pair were already making good their escape apparently laughing as they did so. The bike’s owner, James Jones, a 27-year-old television director whose film Landlords from Hell was screened as part of the Channel 4 Dispatches series last night, briefly gave chase before alerting the police.

They attempted to retrieve fingerprints from the crime scene but were unable to do so and consequently, having been shown the image of the thieves by the pub-goer,  James has enlisted the power of Twitter in a bid to identify the criminals and bring them to book.

It’s a strategy that worked for our very own Tony Farrelly who two years ago tweeted via colleague Dave that his bike had been stolen in Bath. The tweet was seen by a former workmate who just 20 minutes later spotted the bike and its liberator in the town centre, and who, being of a certain size and demeanour, promptly relieved the light-fingered miscreant of his ill-gotten gains.

Of course the chances of such an outcome are slim in London where the market for stolen bikes is far bigger. But as the image begins to go viral, the prospect of at least putting names to the faces of the thieves must be increasing. Here’s hoping…