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Police in Portsmouth say they're dealing with a sudden rise in bike thefts.
They think gangs of young teenagers are behind them, with 28 bikes reported stolen in the city centre in the last 30 days. Nine of them were outside Pure Gym in Arundel Street.
Recent cases include:
A men's black Cube mountain bike was stolen from the Gunwharf Quays service area at around 3.30pm on Monday, September 24, 2012.
A 17-year-old boy from Portsmouth was arrested on suspicion of theft a quarter of an hour later, questioned, bailed and later released with no further action.
The bike was later found by officers.
On Friday, September 14, 2012 between 2pm and 5pm, a valuable 2010 Kona Cadabra mountain bike was stolen from Hampshire Terrace in Southsea.
The bike, which is worth £1,700, had been locked to a metal bike rack behind a dental surgery.
The owner, Trystan Thomas, said: “The bike is extremely important to me. Riding mountain bikes is my passion and this is the nicest and only bike i've owned in the UK. Prior to being stolen I would ride it everyday around Portsmouth, Hayling Island and Queen Elizabeth Park.
“Since the bike was stolen, I have felt quite depressed and it has been a major inconvenience as all my free time was spent on the bike. It is the nicest thing I own and I took very good care of it.
“It has been very upsetting to me both as an invasion of my personal property and as an impact of my daily enjoyment and exercise. I would be extremely grateful to have the bike back and return to enjoying my passion of riding.”
Police are also renewing a separate appeal with a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak with in connection with ongoing enquiries into a bicycle theft in Portsmouth.
He was seen near the cycle rack outside Debenhams in Commercial Road at 1.30pm on Monday, May 28, 2012.
Around this time - bolt croppers appeared to be used to cut a lock on a bike, which was then ridden away from the scene. The stolen bike was a Cube mountain bike valued at £500.
The man police wish to identify is described as:
Tattoos on arms and legs.
Acting Inspector Rob Sutton said:
“This appeared to be a brazen use of bolt croppers to steal a bike in a busy part of Commercial Road.
“We have pursued several lines of enquiry over the summer, and are now appealing again or further information from anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV. He may be able to help us with our investigation.”
Anyone with information about either of these thefts is asked to contact Portsmouth Central police station by phoning 101. Mini-Com users can call the police on 18001 101. Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
Acting Inspector Rob Sutton added:
“Both owners had followed crime prevention advice and locked their bicycles to a cycle rack but this is not always enough to deter the most determined thief.
“To make your bike less attractive to thieves, I would strongly advise cyclists to consider using a good quality D-Lock, which is tougher to remove.
“We’re pleased by people’s response to our community campaigns, particularly on Twitter @pompeyccupoliceand @UniCopsPompey, to raise the awareness and uptake of security measures.
“I even receive photos from our regular followers who are quick to spot and challenge poor examples of bikes left unattended and unsecured.
“With the student population coming back to the city this month, police are preparing for a rise in the risks of thefts facing regular riders returning to our streets.
“We want to do everything we can to help the cyclist protect their property and prevent Portsmouth from providing easy pickings for organised thieves.
“Dedicated local Safer Neighbourhoods team will continue regular patrols and surgeries with the public to strengthen our stance against cycle crime in the city.”
Contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods teams in Portsmouth for more information about how you can obtain D-locks and other security measures for your bicycle. Phone 101 or go online to www.hampshire.police.uk @pompeyccupolice or @UniCopsPompey. Mini-com users can phone 01962 875000.
1. Keep your cycle locked at all times – preferably with a D-lock – and take quick-release parts with you.
2. Note the make, model and frame number and take a photo of yourself with the bike to help prove ownership.
3. Lights are detachable so these should not be left on bikes.
4. At home, bikes should be kept inside and out of view, preferably secured to an immoveable object or a floor or a wall-mounted anchor lock.