Police will lock up unsecured bikes and leave a note for the owners in a move to crackdown on a spate of cycle thefts in Boston town centre.
The force says it is ‘alarmed’ at the increase in bike thefts and are urging owners to leave their bicycles where they can be seen and invest in a good quality lock.
To hammer home the risks some cycle owners are taking, Boston police are mounting a ‘We locked it so you don’t lose it’ campaign, believed to be the first in the UK.
This will see officers using two available D-locks to secure unlocked bikes. They will then leave a note for the owners to report to the police station to have their bike released.
PC Andy Heath said: “If we see a bike that’s of some value in the town centre we will keep a watch on it and if nobody returns to it we will secure it with one of these locks. The owner will then have to come along to the police station with ID in order to get it unlocked.
If we saw a car with the keys in the ignition, we wouldn’t just walk past it. What we are doing is thinking of new ways to tackle bike thefts, and to send a message to owners about securing their bikes.”
He added: “It may be an inconvenience, but it’s less of an inconvenience than having their bike stoken and having to walk home.”
There are about 50 bikes curretly in storage at Boston police station - but PC Heath said its important people know the make and model of their bike, preferably the serial number or are able to give another detailed descriptions, in order to be reunited with it.
Boston Police currently have 50 recovered bikes that they cannot give back to the rightful owners because they don’t know who they are.
The police can data-tag bikes, increasing the chances of it being returned if recovered by police.
A new, improved system to protect and identify bikes will be available soon.
It will use microscopic ‘DNA’ which cannot be removed from the bike and will trace it back to the owner’s address. Would-be thieves will be warned by a notice on the bike that it has been protected.
As many as half of all bicycles are stolen from the owner’s home. Always lock your bike at home even when it is in your garage or shed.
The bike-locking initiative forms part of the Boston forcce’s Operation Cyclone 2 - tackling bicycle thefts. Police are also warning cyclists not to ignore the ‘no cycling’ signs in pedestrianised areas of the town.
One particular problem area is St Botolph’s footbridge over the river. It is used by lots of pedestrians and at busy times can be quite congested.
PC Heath said: “We seen several near misses in the town and it only takes someone travelling at 15mph on a mountain bike to hit a two-year-old to see how much of a danger they pose. Those who are caught cycling in these areas stand to recive a £50 ticket.”