Thieves target bikes in Manchester

Greater Manchester, one of Britain’s cycling capitals, has been identified as one of Britain’s hotspots for bike theft with more than £12 million worth of bikes stolen over the past four years. As the popularity of cycling has increased each year, so has the value of bikes taken, rising from £2.6million in 2009 to £3.6 million in 2011; and the figure for 2012 is predicted to be even higher.

The Wiggins effect has seen cycling turn into a real enthusiast’s area, with the amount of money being spent on bikes and equipment rocketing, further fuelling the thieves thirst for the kit. It is the professional level bikes that are being targeted.

Greater Manchester, one of Britain’s cycling capitals, has been identified as one of Britain’s hotspots for bike theft with more than £12 million worth of bikes stolen over the past four years. As the popularity of cycling has increased each year, so has the value of bikes taken, rising from £2.6million in 2009 to £3.6 million in 2011; and the figure for 2012 is predicted to be even higher.

The Wiggins effect has seen cycling turn into a real enthusiast’s area, with the amount of money being spent on bikes and equipment rocketing, further fuelling the thieves thirst for the kit. It is the professional level bikes that are being targeted.

Police say the crime has changed from opportunist thefts outside shops to highly organised gangs of bike thieves. 

According to the Manchester Evening News, “Officers believe that gangs will send out members on scouting missions to peer into back gardens and garden sheds – before thieves operating in groups strike.

“They break into often poorly secured sheds before using heavy-duty bolt-cutters to free the bikes.”

Police say they have increased resources to help combat the problem, and arrests have doubled over the past 4 years, with 288 arrested for bike theft in 2011.

Bikes are often sold on via auction sites and classified listings; but increasingly bikes are being stripped down and valuable components such as suspension forks and wheels sold for significant sums of money.

High density commuter areas such as Didsbury, Chorlton and Fallowfield are prime targets, with thefts from garden sheds becoming more widespread.