Fate of some of French capital's stolen hire scheme bikes uncovered as Canal St-Martin cleaned...

Council workers in Paris have fished around 100 Velib' hire scheme bikes from the Canal St-Martin in the north-east of the French capital.

Introduced in 2007, the popular bike-share programme has been beset by problems related to theft and vandalism, but at least the whereabouts of some of the missing bicycles has now been resolved.

The canal, which featured in the movie Amelie, was drained earlier this month to enable it to be cleaned, with items found there including shopping trolleys, toilets and a handgun, reports The Local.

But it’s Velib' bikes that have turned out to be one of the most popular items to dump in the waterway, which runs from near the Gare de l’Est towards the Seine, going underground as it approaches the Bastille quarter.

Albert Asséraf, director of strategy at advertising firm JCDecaux, which operates the scheme, told Liberation: “We may still find two or three more, there’s still a little bit of water.”

The bikes that have been recovered are in no state to be returned to the fleet, although some parts may be cannibalised for use as spares.

Despite users having to register for an account or insert a credit or debit card at docking stations to access the scheme, thousands fail to be returned each year – 8,000 in 2013 alone.

 Although 87 per cent of those were subsequently recovered, many had been vandalised and needed repairing before being returned to the streets.

JCDecaux has deployed CCTV, special recovery teams and reinforced locks to try and combat theft and vandalism.

In 2013 the city introduced two-day workshops under the title 'You break it, you repair it' in January 2013 for young people found abusing the scheme, who would spend the time with Velib' maintenance staff.

The scheme has since been extended to all adults, with mayoral spokeswoman Nadhéra Beletreche said it made participants “aware that users are penalised for their behaviour and that JCDecaux employees must repair the consequences of their degradation."

According to a tweet last week from BBC London's Tom Edwards, the number of Boris Bikes stolen and never found again is tiny compared to the experience of Paris.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.