Manchester Police: Crime gangs to blame for high-value cycle thefts

Post-Olympic popularity of cycling has led thieves to target homes, sheds, and outbuildings

by Sarah Barth   October 24, 2012  

Ollie the tea-leaf

Crime gangs are to blame for the 'explosion' in high-value cycle thefts from homes and gardens, Manchester Police have said.

Police in the area say that the problem is widespread, but centred in areas including south Manchester suburbs such Chorlton, Didsbury and Fallowfield - where more people ride bikes.

Some areas have seen a one-fifth rise, particularly in thefts from garden sheds - with the bikes appearing for sale online hours later.

According to the Manchester Evening News, "Officers believe that gangs will send out members on scouting missions to peer into back gardens and garden sheds - before thieves operating in groups strike.

"They break into often poorly secured sheds before using heavy-duty bolt-cutters to free the bikes.

"Dozens of bikes are then taken to store houses before quickly being sold - often on websites such as Gumtree and Ebay, as well as in second-hand shops up to 20 miles away."

The tactic marks a change from bikes being stolen from outside shops and bars in town centres.

Paul Kinrade, Inspector from GMP's Didsbury Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:”After the success of Team GB in the Summer Olympics, cycling is more popular than ever and criminals are fully aware of this.

“We don’t want to discourage people from getting out on their bikes, but what we do want is to make life harder for thieves by making it harder for them to sell bikes on.

“By purchasing a stolen bike, not only are you fuelling the stolen goods market but handling stolen goods is an offence in itself. If you are approached by somebody in the street offering to sell you a bike or your child comes home with a bargain bike that seems too good to be true, report them to the police and help us put a stop to this kind of crime.”

In the summer, we reported on the theft of a Pinarello Paris bike belonging to Olympic gold medallist Philip Hindes from the home he shares in Manchester with BMX rider Liam Philips, whose car was also taken and later found burnt out and abandoned.

Last year, we brought you crime statistics that showed that greater Manchester was the third worst area for bike theft in the UK, with 5,185 thefts reported in 2010.

9 user comments

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A spokesman from Greater Manchester Police said:

"Honestly, we don't give a flying shit, that's one of the reasons why when we see some scratter who's entire wardrobe is from the sales at Sports Direct riding round on a bike worth over a grand we dont bother to stop and ask questions. The other main reason is that we're probably on our way to Tesco to pick up the reduced price rotisserie chicken.

Did I mention that we don't give a flying shit"?

posted by farrell [1526 posts]
24th October 2012 - 9:13

4 Likes

The article in one sentence says that :

"Dozens of bikes are then taken to store houses before quickly being sold - often on websites such as Gumtree and Ebay, as well as in second-hand shops up to 20 miles away."

Then contradicts this by saying:

“By purchasing a stolen bike, not only are you fuelling the stolen goods market but handling stolen goods is an offence in itself. If you are approached by somebody in the street offering to sell you a bike or your child comes home with a bargain bike that seems too good to be true, report them to the police and help us put a stop to this kind of crime.

The second quote seems to be a stock answer from someone who does not care about bike theft as it ignores the targeted high value aspect of the thefts.

Maybe its time for a national cycle register with all frames microchipped at point of sale and sold with matching documentation. My old car is probably worth less than a lot of peoples bikes but is better protected from resale when stolen.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
24th October 2012 - 9:14

5 Likes

Funny the only time I've had a bike stolen was from my shed in Edinburgh and it was recovered in hours by a bike savvy copper who stopped the person riding the bike because they didn't "match" the bike. Maybe the Manchester police need bike - rider matching training Smile

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
24th October 2012 - 9:21

6 Likes

I'm just down the road from the areas mentioned. Food for thought.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3349 posts]
24th October 2012 - 12:36

4 Likes

An interesting side effect of living is south manchester is the proliferation of Team GB riders (as mentioned). They are very visible when out training. I was speaking to someone who lives next door to one and who had had had their own bikes nicked and their hypothesis was that the scallies had spotted Team GB out on training ride, followed them back and got the wrong house! They obviously didnt get the wrong house when they hit Hindes and Phillips. The presence of a British Cycling branded car parked outside their doesnt do much to deflect the interest of a savvy bike thief either!

posted by Some Fella [794 posts]
24th October 2012 - 13:40

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notfastenough wrote:
I'm just down the road from the areas mentioned. Food for thought.

Time for action, I'd say.

I know of two thefts in Shropshire in recent weeks (mentioned previously), this practice not restricted to BC academy riders and mancunian MAMILs.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2007 posts]
24th October 2012 - 21:18

4 Likes

As a resident of this area I can well believe it.

A couple of weeks ago I saw no less than 3 beautiful Specialized Venge's on GumTree in Manchester for, wait for it ............ £900 each! Dura ace the lot!

No way these weren't nicked! I did a quick search to see I there were any reports of them being stolen to let somebody know but nothing. Do the coppers not search gumtree on a daily basis?

Just my 2penneth as someone about to drop a grand on a bike at Xmas after already having 2 nicked in South Manchester.

posted by johnnyb13 [31 posts]
25th October 2012 - 8:43

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That probably answers why my bike was stolen a month ago from the roof of my car in Trafford Centre, Manchester when I called in on the way back from a ride. Locked and parked next to a cctv camera. Bold as brass springs to mind.

posted by GML [1 posts]
26th October 2012 - 10:01

3 Likes

these arent always the work of gangs many scrap metal collectors look in poeple gardens and take bicycles , which i have experience of.

posted by akhat93 [20 posts]
31st December 2012 - 1:35

4 Likes