POLICE are helping Henley residents secure their bikes in response to a spate of thefts in the town
POLICE are helping Henley residents secure their bikes in response to a spate of thefts in the town.
Officers had a stand in Market Place on Thursday and Sunday last week where they were engraving bikes, encouraging people to use SmartWater - a forensic traceable liquid - and offering advice.
Ekos Porcsin, 36, of Gillotts Lane, Henley, said he thought the initiative was a good idea.
In November his bike, which was unlocked, was stolen from his open garage, but fortunately he found it in the road the next day, he said.
Last month Thames Valley Police issued a warning to bicycle owners in the town following the theft of 21 machines since the beginning of October.
It was thought the crimes, plus one attempted theft, could be the work of one gang.
PCSO Tarran Colby, from Henley police station, said: ?For me it?s a response to what I?ve seen since I?ve been here.?
He said there had been a decline in thefts but added: ?We?re trying help people in the community feel a bit more secure with their bikes and give them advice.
?SmartWater and engraving it?s a more permanent deterrent. If the offender whose taking the bikes, or the group, sees this it shows we?re trying to combat that in a positive way.?
The bikes were engraved with the owner?s postcode.
PCSO Mark Bell, who is based at Sonning Common police station, explained: ?The most popular thing are bikes that are stolen for instant cash. Once they are sold if the purchaser of the bike sees there?s a postcode there?s a good chance that this is a stolen bike.?
He said the move was a response to the recent thefts but added: ?It?s something we do all year round. We?ll be doing it going through the year.
?SmartWater helps the community to feel safe and helps Thames Valley Police to find evidence linking the offender to the crime scene.
?It?s long lasting and it can withstand many weather conditions - you can even SmartWater your car.?
Property can be marked with no more than a half inch line or a few spots and each bottle can be used to mark up to 55 items.
Pc Becky Tanner, who was investigating the bike thefts, said: ?In many of the cases, the bikes? locks have been cut, forced or tampered with but in some cases the bikes have only been secured by the front wheel.
?To avoid being a victim of bicycle theft, people should purchase heavy duty locks and better secure their bikes.
?Cyclists should also make sure their bikes are marked and that they record all of their bicycle?s information, including serial number.?
Anyone who has had their bike stolen should report it to Thames Valley Police via the 24-hour enquiry line, 101.