Police need help to put brakes on bicycle thieves

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 January 2012

PCSO Steve Maynard with the Data Tag scanner.

PCSO Steve Maynard with the Data Tag scanner.

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A NEW police campaign targeting bicycle thieves is under way after more than 260 bikes were 
stolen in Weston in 2011.

The Lock it or Lose It campaign has been launched to tackle the problem, with police offering to fit bicycles with cut-price electronic tags to track their whereabouts.

Technology firm DataTag will provide electronic tagging chips for bicycles at around £13 per bike – half the normal price – in conjunction with the police.

Officers have also been giving out bike security advice and visiting local schools.

Police are currently targeting bike thieves and making sure offenders end up in court.

Richard Matthews, aged 27, of Tawny Way, Worle, pleaded guilty to stealing a bicycle worth £295 when he appeared at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges on Friday.

He also admitted eight other offences which were taken into consideration.

Matthews was given a community order to take part in a Thinking Skills Programme and was ordered to pay £1,332 in compensation to his victims collectively.

One of them, 13-year-old Tom Ritchie, of The Grove, Winscombe, had his BMX stolen from outside a supermarket in November.

His mother, Karyn, said: “Tom was devastated when he realised his bike had gone - it was his pride and joy. He spent a lot of time and money doing it up, buying new wheels and parts.

“Tom has a new bike now and all his friends are much more aware about securing their bikes when left unattended.”

Another victim, Holly Wigmore, aged 23, of Fowey Road, Worle, had her bicycle stolen from outside a gym in November. She said: “I was really surprised when my bike was stolen as I put two locks on it and I was only gone for half an hour.”

“My bike was worth about £500, but it wasn’t insured. I’ll have to walk to work from now on.”

Sgt Mark Raby, of Weston police, said: “We hope the campaign will reduce the number of bicycles stolen in the town, and help us to bring the offenders to justice.

“Security marking your bike will increase the chances of it being returned if it is ever lost or 
stolen and recovered by the police.”

To buy an electronic DataTag call 01932 796788 and quote Avon and Somerset police to reduce the cost from £26 to £13.50.

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