The overwhelming majority of bicycle thefts in Scotland go unsolved, new figures have shown.
Nearly 90 per cent of reports of a stolen pedal bike went without a culprit being found in a period of almost a year.
Data uncovered by the Scottish Conservatives revealed there were 5,394 recorded crimes for pedal bike thefts in the ten months to 31 January, the equivalent of 17 a day.
However, just 548 of these were recorded as “detected”, according to the Police Scotland statistics.
The number of thefts is on course to be significantly higher than 2016-17, when 5,424 incidents were reported for the entire year.
Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr said a new focus was required from the single force to improve clear-up rates of bicycle thefts.
There was also huge disparity in the detection rate across the country.
In Edinburgh, just one in every 23 cycle thefts were solved, compared with nearly 50 per cent in Fife.
Mr Kerr said: “The stealing of pedal bikes may not be the most serious crime to come across the desk of police each day.
“But it’s serious nonetheless, and to see the overwhelming majority go undetected is extremely worrying.
“It sends out a terrible message that, if you decide to nick someone else’s bike, the chances are you’ll get away with it.
“In places like Edinburgh, there’s almost a cast-iron guarantee the police won’t catch you. Bicycle owners deserve better.
“We’re supposed to be encouraging healthy living and getting more people on two wheels is a key way of doing that.
“But if hundreds of pounds of worth of equipment is so easily stolen, with so little chance of it being recovered, that will harm that initiative.”
Inspector Chris Lewis, for Police Scotland Safer Communities, said: “We will always investigate reports of crime and dedicate local and specialist resources to detect offenders.
“The public also has a vital role to play in helping us prevent crime by ensuring they take all the necessary steps to safeguard their properties and belongings.
“Most bikes which are stolen are poorly secured or not secured at all. More than half of all bikes stolen are taken from the owner’s property.
“There are many steps which you can take to keep your bike secure, but make sure you lock your bike up when you leave it unattended.”
Among the other steps police recommend are cyclists registering their bikes with the National Cycle Database.