Sunday, 26 May 2019

Police urge cyclists to mark bikes following thefts

POLICE are helping Henley residents secure their bicycles in response to a spate of thefts.

POLICE are helping Henley residents secure their bicycles in response to a spate of thefts.

Officers manned a stand in Market Place where they were engraving bikes with owners’ postcodes and encouraging people to use SmartWater, a forensic traceable liquid, and offering advice.

Police community support officer Tarran Colby said: “We’re trying to help people in the community feel a bit more secure with their bikes and give them advice. SmartWater and engraving are a deterrent.”

Last month, 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 Mark Bell, who is based in Sonning Common, said bicycles were often taken for “instant cash” but added: “If the purchaser sees a postcode there’s a good chance that it is a stolen bike.”

He said possessions could be marked with just a few drops of SmartWater and each bottle could be used to mark up to 55 items.

Pcso Bell said: “It helps the police to find evidence linking the offender to a crime scene. It’s long-lasting and can withstand many weather conditions — you can even SmartWater your car.”

Pc Becky Tanner, who was investigating the bike thefts, said: “In many 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 their bicycle’s information, including the serial number.”

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