Thieves target tourist motorbikes at hotels

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foreign motorcyclists travelling around Scotland are being targeted by opportunist thieves in the Capital.

Police are calling on hoteliers and guest house managers to support visitors by providing secure parking and security advice.

A spate of incidents over the past month has fuelled fears that the incidents will continue as visitors flock to the city for the festival season.

Criminals are targeting foreign-registered motorbikes because they are often “more vulnerable” than vehicles safely locked away at residential properties.

Superintendent Alan Porte said: “We are aware of thefts of foreign motorbikes, often German and Dutch tourists, being stolen from streets within the city. People will generally keep them in their garage, with a ground anchor or a chain, making it difficult to steal.

“But if I am visiting a foreign country or I am on holiday, I may well have parked my motorcycle outside a B&B that doesn’t have any particular motor security.”

He said visitors were unlikely to carry a large chain or anchor with them while travelling from Europe.

“We want to put out a message, particularly within the hospitality industry,” said Supt Porte. “I’d ask anybody who has received foreign guests who are using motorcycles, to consider providing secure parking as an added feature of their business.”

He said off-street parking was preferable, however if that is not possible, he asked 
hoteliers to consider giving their guests chains or padlocks.

Supt Porte said there had been a spike in incidents over the past month, as more European tourists arrive in the Capital on motorbikes.

He added: “It’s not that [the criminals] are specifically targeting foreign motorcycles, it’s just that they tend to be parked on the street and not secured as well. We just want to raise awareness of that, but particularly for people living here who are bringing guests into Edinburgh. If [a theft] happens, it will have a negative effect on their business, and they have a poorer impression of Edinburgh city centre.

“We want to make sure that everyone has the best experience of the city.”

David Hinnrichs, who owns Allison House Hotel in Newington, said he always tried to protect motorbikes after a guest fell foul of a theft around four years ago.

He said: “We tend to square them off so people can’t get at them. We had a bike stolen once before and ever since then I have always been very careful.

“Some of the bikes that come here are expensive machines – like Harley Davidsons. We have four bikers staying tonight from Belgium. German and Dutch visitors are those that tend to come on bikes.”

Mr Hinnrichs said he would spread the word to his hotelier contacts, adding: “For tourists coming over, if they start knowing about this, it’s not good for us.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com