A GANG of brazen thieves is stealing high-powered motorbikes – and then posing for pictures on them on Facebook.
Some snaps of the gang, believed to be involved in a spate of thefts across the city, show the culprits obscuring their faces with scarves.
But most show the youths openly laughing at their antics while astride 185mph superbikes, on sites bearing their personal details.
Police have confirmed they are aware of the situation – and have returned a number of bikes to their owners.
Agricultural engineer Andrew Cairns, 28, of Portobello, had his Honda CBR600 stolen from his front garden at the start of June. He said: “The bike had been locked up and would have had to be carried down a number of steps, so I knew it was likely more than one person was involved.
Mr Cairns’ friend set up a Facebook page where people can report sightings of stolen bikes.
Via the site aghast bikers have been watching the antics of the bike thieves.
Some trophy snaps taken of alleged culprits have been passed by the brassed off bikers to the Evening News.
Mr Cairns said: “We’ve had reports of kids being seen doing some really dangerous stuff, riding about on pavements and riding without helmets, but wearing hoodies and balaclavas to cover their faces.”
Bikers have been trying to use clues from posted snaps to get their much-loved machines – many worth as much as £14,000 – back. But no matter how quickly they get there, the bikes are nowhere to be seen.
“We began to suspect our page was actually tipping them off when we were on to them, so we deleted it,” said Mr Cairns.
Police Scotland said they are “aware of an increase in the number of motorcycle thefts in recent months”, one which, in part, could be down to bikers making the best of the summer weather.
However, a spokesman said: “[We have] taken action to address this issue through an operation aimed at identifying those responsible.
“A number of individuals have been arrested, and officers have recovered a number of stolen motorcycles, which have been returned to their owners.
“We will continue to focus our resources on tackling vehicle crime . . . and at this time we would urge members of the public to be vigilant, and to take steps to ensure their motorbikes are properly secured in order to deter potential thieves.”
Mr Cairns, whose bike was found burnt out two weeks after it went missing, is hopeful his new found internet pals will have better luck than him.
Of the spate, he added: “It’s astonishing they could be so blatant.”
KEEP YOUR WHEELS SAFE
WHILE nothing can absolutely guarantee your bike will stay safe, there are steps you can take to make it less desirable to thieves.
Cover it when you are not using it, so passing thieves cannot tell at a glance what make you own. It’s also a good idea to store it in a locked garage. Bike locks can be broken and chains can be cut. But, the more chains you use, the less likely it is a thief will risk the time it would take to remove them all. Specialist trackers can also be fitted.