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If you live in the North East and you've had your bike nicked recently give them a call...

A shop in County Durham which is believed to be a cycle retailer is at the centre of an investigation into the theft and re-sale of more than £20,000 in stolen bike parts.

The shop, which cannot be identified due to the ongoing police investigation, was raided on Friday morning and around 35 bikes and parts were seized. Police are asking cyclists who have recently had bicycles stolen to come forward and identify if any of the distinctive and expensive confiscated kit belongs to them after the raid.

Detectives believe the high specification bikes were being stolen, broken down and the parts sold on eBay, and two men in their 20s were arrested following the raid and have been released on police bail.

PC Simon Morley of Durham Police said the theft of expensive bikes used by cycling enthusiasts and competitors is an “emerging problem” in the North East.

He told the Northern Echo: “We would really like the owners of these bikes to come forward and identify what belongs to them. What we are finding is the bikes and parts do not have anything on them which links them with their rightful owners. This sort of equipment is extremely valuable to thieves. They can break the bikes down into parts and sell them to anyone in the UK through internet sites and they become very difficult to trace.”

If you think your bike could be one of those recover you can  call police on 0345-60-60-365.

Research indicates a bike is stolen every 65 seconds in the UK and a rise in bike thefts in Cambridge prompted police to join forces with Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cycling City, Cambridge Cycling Campaign and CCTV operators to crack down on thieves and encourage cyclists to keep tabs on their machines.

Locking a bike to an immovable object with a high-quality lock will deter thieves and you can also register bikes with immobilise.com, a site that will enable stolen bikes to be returned if they are recovered by police.

As recently reported on road.cc online bicycle insurer Cycleguard recently warned that more and more stolen bikes are ending up on the internet and second-hand market.