While the theft of bikes from retailers has been very much in the news this week, an equally pernicious, though lower profile, spate of thefts has been reported in the Southport area.
Thieves are helping themselves to bikes from Southport homes at a rate of almost two a night, reports the Southport Visiter.
The paper says that since the start of April around 250 bikes have been stolen with one the latest incidents seeing two bikes with a combined valued of £10,000 being lifted from the home of local barber Robert Rix.
One of the bikes is a custom-specced Colnago which was said to have been his pride and joy. He has offered a £1,000 reward for the return of the machines which were taken when thieves forced open a garage door and clambered over a car to reach them.
Robert, 62, told the Visiter: “They have got some nerve to be able to do this. I was devastated.”
In another case, three bikes were taken in a raid on a family’s property and one of the common factors appears to be that the victims are members of the Southport Cycling Club. The organisation, however, is adamant that its data security has not been compromised.
Club Secretary, Ken Beck, believes the crime wave has been driven by a ready market for components. “It is just too easy,” he told the Visiter. “They strip the bikes down and sell the parts on eBay.”
Another club victim John Hymers, 62, had four bikes worth £3,500 taken when thieves broke into his garage, the paper reports.
He told the publication: “People are very angry in the club. Cycling is our hobby and these toerags are striking at the heart of our hobby.”
Local police have said the thefts are not solely confined to club members and they have urged all bike owners to install alarms and use strong locks to protect their two-wheeled assets.
Inspector Tony Jones said: “These are valuable items. We are working on it and we need people to lock their stuff away.”
Inspector Jones called on all cyclists to make a note of their bicycle’s frame number so police could track it if the bike was stolen.