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London woman reunited with stolen bike - after police stop pavement cyclist 13 miles away

Officers say case highlights value of registering your frame number on database

A London woman has been reunited with her stolen bike after police stopped a man for riding it on the pavement on the other side of the capital, with a check on the frame number revealing that it had been recorded as stolen on the BikeRegister database.

The 19-year-old man was cycling with his brother on a pavement on East London’s Bethnal Green Road when officers stopped them for what the police described as “anti-social behaviour.” *

PC Tom Newell checked the frame number and discovered it had been reported stolen in Hounslow, 13 miles away in West London. The man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and the happy owner was reunited with her bike on Monday 24 February.

Acting Police Sergeant Scott Manning, who was with PC Newell when the men were stopped, said: "We are delighted to have found the bike and returned it to its rightful owner.”

Often, when police recover stolen bikes, they are unable to give them back to the lawful owner because the crime has not been reported or there is no record of the frame number.

“It shows the value of recording frame numbers and taking some basic crime prevention advice to help you get your bike back in these cases,” continued APS Manning.

“We hold free bike marking events and anyone is welcome to come along and have their bike marked for free".

Police said that they were continuing to investigate the theft of the bike. Neither the name of the man arrested nor the woman the bike belonged to have been disclosed.

The Met have marked and registered 40,000 bikes on the Bike Register database in the last 12 months and its free register your bike on the system - which is nationwide, you can find it at

* The offence of cycling on the footway is actually covered under the Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888.

As we reported in January, transport minister Robert Goodwill has reconfirmed 1999 Home Office guidance that said:

"The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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