Bike theft victim compares approach of London and Bristol police forces

Owner praises Avon and Somerset Police not so positive about the Met though

by Kevin Emery   September 10, 2009  

Locked bike

Cyclist Paul Jones was finally reunited with his classic Bob Jackson bike a year after it had been stolen in Bristol. And he took a swipe at the Metropolitan Police in the process.

Members of the forum discovered the ex-Londoner’s £1,400 bike on eBay, and Avon and Somerset Police recovered it the same day, and even delivered it to his home.

Mr Jones told the London Cycling Campaign: “The police response in Bristol was phenomenal, and I was surprised, mainly due to my experiences with London police. They took the matter very seriously. I remain incredibly grateful for the work done by PCs Dave Townsend and Will Thorpe in Bristol.”

Mr Jones knew every detail of his beloved bike, and posted the story on internet forums, which helped the police identify it. He said forums are invaluable resources, with thousands of people who "can spot stolen items a mile off" looking out for rare parts. And some of Bristol’s police regularly sign in to them.

Members of the LFGSS forum, for example, regularly flag up items of interest to each other on eBay and are quick to identify listings that seem dodgy - for example, where the item description displays an ignorance of bike terminology, or the vendor says they will only accept payment in cash at a pre-arranged spot.

PC Frank Simonds, Bristol’s cycle crime reduction officer, told the LCC: “It is a combination of three elements: enforcement targeting offenders, educating the public to protect themselves from theft, and finally, intelligence work.”

Mr Jones said he received little help from eBay in retrieving the bike, while the seller of the bike was not prosecuted, claiming she found it in a skip.

More and more stolen bikes are ending up on the second-hand market and the internet, providing a potential minefield for prospective buyers.

Research indicates that a bike is stolen in the UK every 65 seconds and the boom in cycling has created rich pickings for bike thieves. When buying a second-hand bike, always be sure to ask to meet the vendor face-to-face, see if all the bike parts match, make sure the owner has proof of purchase, and check for security markings on the frame.


6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

My experience of reporting my very costly forks as stolen was that the Metropolitan Police couldn't give a hoot.
If I'd been reporting an old banger of a car worth half as much they'd have done something about it.


posted by OldRidgeback [2572 posts]
10th September 2009 - 17:41


The police in Bristol!? They dont even count cycle theft as a crime! Fair play though, very good you got your bike back but its a different story when they need to do the leg work.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
10th September 2009 - 18:46


The police are of little use here. It is up to the individual to be as proactive as possible:

1_ a good chain & lock
2_proactive use of a public BikeRegistry
3_a thorough TAG job via the registry of your choice.

Other than that, it is the Wild, Wild West out there in regard to bike thievery!!

andy42's picture

posted by andy42 [14 posts]
10th September 2009 - 22:28


Any bike theft in Bristol try contacting the North Bristol Burglary Squad in Southmead cop shop.....they're like the Sweeney on Red Bull!
They got P.J.s bike back THAT DAY, Anthony de H's AND his girlfriend's bike back and many others. They really really give a toss about bike theft in Bristle.

Agency Scum's picture

posted by Agency Scum [2 posts]
11th September 2009 - 9:10


i'm not sure that any of my comments merit that headline. it's pretty emotive, and i wasn't necessarily taking a 'swipe' at the met, more foregrounding the excellent work done by bristol police in comparison, especially since they started making it a priority. the villains of the piece are unequivocally EBAY.

posted by pj [149 posts]
14th September 2009 - 19:56


Fair point pj, we should probably have made it clearer that it was the London Cycling Campaign that were doing the criticising - I'll change the headline

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
14th September 2009 - 21:16