As last week's news from Bath of £25k worth of bicycles being stolen from the Odd Down Circuit shows, some bike thieves are highly organised and plan ahead. Others, it's fair to say, don't. Here is a trio of failed heists that have gone down in the last month and the stories of their not-so-successful perps.
Our first story comes from Bristol where our almost-victim parked his bike by a church in the south of the city to play basketball nearby. Failing to lock up his bike securely, perhaps through misplaced faith in the locals or in the church, he left his bike vulnerable to an opportunistic theft.
Enter our 22-year-old would-be villain. Seeing an easy chance to nick a bike and unaware that its owner was just around the corner, the thief made away with his newly acquired set of wheels past the courts, alerting the group playing basketball to the theft.
In response to the immediate shouts of protest from the players the thief began hurling abuse and making rude gestures as he cycled away from them. Unfortunately for him, his confidence and arrogance was misplaced. After only a small distance, his lack of fitness started to hamper his getaway and the more athletic chasing pack started to eat away at his lead.
As if to put the final nail in the coffin of his doomed robbery, the exhausted thief turned in to a cul-de-sac and was quickly restrained by the aggrieved party and his friends, who then awaited the arrival of the police.
PC Ben Jeffries from Broadbury Road Police Station issued a caution to the bike thief who was quick to admit to the offence, and despite observing the comedy of the situation said: "Whilst the circumstances of this man's attempt to steal a bike are quite funny, we shouldn't forget that bikes are easy pickings for thieves if they're not secured properly.
North, to Bolton, and this time a less opportunistic theft reported in The Bolton News.
Outside a community centre, a rather distinctive looking bike was locked up. Our thief, armed with a some form of chain-cutting device, relieved the bike of its shackles and 'liberated' it.
The victim turned out to be a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) - hence the distinctive, police issue bike - who immediately informed his colleagues of the theft.
Two days later the thief was spotted by officers, and improbably he was still riding the PCSO’s bike. A search of his house turned up about ten reportedly stolen bikes and frames amounting to around £1,000 worth of shadily accrued goods.
Finally we trek Down Under to meet a big-mouthed Aussie courtesy of Darwin's ABC radio station. Police in the city received a call from a pedestrian, reporting that a cyclist had ordered him out of the way in an impolite manner.
Not only that, but the pedestrian went on to allege how, after complimenting the rider on his bike, the bossy cyclist responded with: ‘Yeah, I stole it.’
After hearing the bizarre admission, the pedestrian called the police and the miscreant, who had apparently stolen the bike from a nearby shopping centre, right in front of a CCTV camera, was picked up shortly after.