Police in Derbyshire have sent out warnings to would-be thieves in the county following two arrests that have been made using a 'capture bike' fitted with a tracking device.
The two arrests included an unnamed 16-year old and 19-year old Nathan Coxon, both from Derby, who were caught by the police force who had noticed a spike in the number of stolen bikes in the city centre in recent weeks.
Coxon pled guilty to handling stolen goods before Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court on September 16, while the 16-year old has been charged with a theft of pedal cycle and is set to appear before Southern Derbyshire Youth Court later this month.
Sergeant Mark Preston, the officer in charge of the Darley Safer Neighbourhood Team, told the Derby Telegraph that his team work closely with partners in the city to encourage Derby residents to cycle and to ensure the security of the bikes that are being used.
He said: "We closely monitor the number of bikes being stolen and had noticed a spike in the numbers for the city centre.
"As a result, we joined forces with our colleagues in the city centre team last week to target the offenders."
The resulting two arrests gave Sergeant Preston confidence in the scheme and led him to the decision to continue using the bikes to catch prospective thieves.
"We understand that some people rely on their bikes as their form of transport and, in the city centre in particular, are using them to get to and from work - and so it will remain a priority for us to try to prevent the theft of cycles.
"The capture bikes have proved to be a very successful tactic for us and we will continue using it," Sgt Preston said, before issuing the following warning to any others planning on committing a similar crime.
"The message to any would-be thief is to think again as we will target you."
The scheme that has proved successful for Derbyshire police isn't a new technology and has been used to great effect in a number of different locations.
Police in Nottingham 'filled' their city with these 'capture bicycles' back in 2013. The difference being they also placed 14 yellow warning bikes with messages on them warning thieves that any of the bikes locked up near by could contain technology that can be used to track the bike.
Nottinghamshire Police said that they got the idea for using the brightly coloured warning bikes from police in Liverpool where the police noted a 40% drop in bike thefts since introducing them to the city.
In 2015 over in Amsterdam police say they caught almost 1,000 bike thieves by using similar tactics as both the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire constabulary.
According to a report from dutchnews.nl police almost doubled the number arrests they made in 2014 from 490 up to 954 using this tactic - a figure itself which was already up from the 290 bike theft-associated arrests they'd made in 2013.
Of course, bike theft prevention isn't only the responsibility of the police. Sergeant Preston of the Derbyshire police force told the Derby Telegraph that he encourages bike owners to take simple measures to keep their bikes as safe as possible.
He said: "Invest in a good quality lock and where appropriate, make use of the free secure cycle parking.
"Bike marking is also important, as it primarily acts as a visible deterrent to would-be thieves. It makes it easier for the bike to be found and returned it to its rightful owner and helps to secure a successful prosecution against thieves."
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