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Brentwood station employee chased after thief - but says he sees three bikes a week stolen there

A railway worker in Essex has received an award after catching a thief who had stolen a bike from a station.

The award was presented to the employee at Brentwood station, who has asked to remain anonymous, by Crossrail.

The station will be one of the stops on the Elizabeth Line route – as the Crossrail project is now known – once it opens in 2019.

He had noticed a man acting suspiciously by the bike racks, reports Essex Live.

"I said to a woman from Transport for London that the man was about to steal the bike,” he said.

“Sure enough, he loosened the frame and back wheel, and ran off with them.

"The woman began chasing him and I didn't want her to get hurt, so I chased them both.

He managed to catch the thief on Kings Road and prevented him from making off while the woman from TfL called police.

"The man was claiming the bike belonged to a friend and he was trying to wriggle free, but I'm quite a big guy so it was okay,” explained the station employee.

“The police arrived within a few minutes and arrested him."

According to figures supplied to road.cc last year by British Transport Police, Cambridge railway station had Great Britain’s highest incidence of reported bike theft from 2011-14, with an average of 69.5 bicycles stolen in each of those years.

During the same period, 51 bicycles were reported stolen from Brentwood station, an average of around 10 a year.

> Where are Britain's railway cycle theft hotspots? We crunch the data

According to the railway worker who apprehended the thief, however, the situation at Brentwood is far worse than those figures suggest.

"I see it all the time, at least three bicycle thefts per week,” He said. [British] Transport Police should be doing more."

Possible explanations for the discrepancy could be that there has been a rise in cycle theft there, that many incidences of bikes being stolen go unreported, or that there's an element of exaggeration in the employee's assertion - or perhaps a combination of all three.

PC Jack Bower Wilson of BTP said: "We take all reports of thefts seriously and regularly take proactive steps to ensure that cycle crime is deterred on the railway.

"Unfortunately, bicycles remain a popular target for thieves. We have a dedicated cycle theft investigation team and would advise cyclists to invest in a good quality D lock, and get their bikes securely marked and registered at www.bikeregister.com.

"We regularly hold cycle surgeries where you can get your bike security marked for free at stations across Essex and the south east," he added.

One of the criticisms raised by the Brentwood station employee, however, was that when such sessions have been held there, they have not been at peak commuting times, when the people who leave their bikes there during the day will be present.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.