Capital bike crime rockets by 50 per cent in a year

Tom Megaughin, who had his bike stolen from the stair in the Easter Road tenement
Tom Megaughin, who had his bike stolen from the stair in the Easter Road tenement
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A SURGE in bicycle thefts across the Capital has seen cases shoot up 47 per cent in the last year alone, newly obtained figures reveal.

There were 2,240 bikes stolen in the Capital over the last year compared to 1,522 the previous year.

The statistics were obtained under Freedom of Information laws by Lothian MSP Miles Briggs, who praised the police response.

“In Edinburgh there is a bike crime epidemic and it is really encouraging that the Edinburgh Police Division are taking steps to crack down on this,” said Mr Briggs.

“Operation Agora is making a significant impact on reducing the number of bike thefts in the capital.”

Stolen bikes helped drive a 13 per cent rise in theft across the city in the last year – from 4,769 reported crimes in 2016/17 to 5,411 in 2017/18.

A victim of bike theft himself, Olympic cyclist Callum Skinner warned of the impact the crime can have.

He said: “I was a victim of bike theft when I was 13 in the Bruntsfield area.

“It can be devastating, especially as a child. We logged the crime with the police but nothing came of it. Bike theft is a large and growing problem.

“People don’t always appreciate that some bikes on the road cost more than your average used car. If you own a bike make sure to take a note of the frame number, take out insurance, securely lock your bike and don’t leave it unattended in a car or on a car rack.

“I hope the police are doing their best to reduce bike theft as much as possible.”

Demands from the public to address a cycle crimewave led to the launch of Operation Agora.

And polices said they were getting a “good handle” on the situation.

Detective Superintendent Laura McLuckie, the lead for acquisitive crime in Edinburgh, said a team of officers had been dedicated to addressing the issue – which has seen an 18 per cent reduction in reported bike thefts compared to the same time last year.

She said one of the tactics they were using was to create a “bike passport”.

“Under this operation, officers have visited 33 bike shops in Edinburgh as well as any other vulnerable premises, giving advice on the information they need to record about each bicycle.

“The purchaser is then given a form which acts as a ‘bike passport’ with all the unique identifying features of their bicycle on it.

“The bike passport also helps police to reunite the recovered stolen bikes with their owners.”

Bike experts from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative in Bruntsfield said an increase in provision of secure bike storage – especially overnight bike lockers – would help drive down thefts and put cyclists more at ease.

Last month the Evening News reported how Tom Megaughin-Helder’s treasured ride – an eighth birthday present – was stolen from a common stair in Easter Road.