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Surge of opportunist thieving due in part to inadequate locks

In the light of last night’s widespread looting, arson and general anarchy in London and elsewhere which also saw bike retailers large and small targeted, a provincial cycle-theft issue might seem rather small beer.

But to the individual victims, the theft of a cherished bike is always a soul-destroying experience, not to mention often a huge inconvenience for those who rely on their bike as a primary mode of transport .

We reported last week on York’s growing problem with bike thieves with figures showing more than 2,000 machines stolen in past 12 months.

In an effort to combat the problem, the York Press reports that a joint police and Safer York Partnership event will be held in the city’s Parliament Street this Friday, with the aim of reinforcing the message that bikes need to be secured with locks that are sturdy enough to deter thieves from targeting them.

The event will also be an opportunity for cyclists to register their bikes on the police national database and to use ultra-violet marking to make it easier to reunite any bikes that do get stolen with their owners.

The Press recently published figures which show that on average six bikes are stolen in the city every day, with a total of 2,173 taken between May 2010 and 2011 – almost double the number stolen in the preceding 12 months.

York police have said that inadequate locks were making it easy for opportunist thieves to help themselves to bikes in the city centre.

At Friday’s event, which will take place between 10am and 3.30pm outside Marks & Spencer’s store, two York cycle organisations, Get Cycling and Cycle Rescue will be on hand to offer practical assistance and advice.

Sturdy locks will be on sale at discounted prices to people with proof of residency in the city, while anyone with an unwanted bike can hand it over for recycling.