According to analysis carried out by the BBC, between 2013 and 2016 75 per cent of bike theft investigations were closed with no suspect identified.
The figures come from the official police data website, which goes into greater detail than the published crime statistics.
It may have gained plaudits for its close pass operation, but West Midlands Police was the force most likely to list an investigation as ‘no suspect identified’, doing so 93 per cent of the time.
However, other forces simply left investigations open. While the Metropolitan Police listed just 41 per cent of bicycle thefts as ‘no suspect identified’, its data showed more than half of investigations dating back to 2013 were still open.
Sam Jones, Cycling UK campaigns co-ordinator, said: "Bike theft and the tracing of stolen bikes has long been a problem which plagues both the police and cyclists. While Cycling UK understands the difficulties of hunting down individual bikes, we believe targeting the market itself would be a more effective use of police time and resource.
"Clamping down on well-known market places for stolen bikes, including online forums, would swiftly begin to bear fruit."
Commenting on the BBC’s analysis, which also took in other crime types, Greater Manchester Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: "Our resources are limited and we cannot do everything we would want to. We have to prioritise our workload to focus on the most serious crime which represents the greatest threat, harm and risk to the public.”
Yesterday we reported how a Bristol woman ‘stole’ back her bike after finding it advertised for sale. Avon and Somerset Police said they had carried out a full investigation but "exhausted all current possible lines of enquiry".