EDINBURGH is in the grip of a bike-theft crimewave with owners being warned to be extra vigilant.
At least one leading health club has been forced to issue an alert to members while another victim is thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Charity cyclist Andy Wallace claims a gang of teenagers is targeting bike owners following a spate of thefts in the Capital.
Andy, 55, and his friend had left their bikes locked up outside The White Lady pub in Corstorphine on Thursday when out for a meal.
However when the pair returned to their transport, worth a combined £2,000, they found they had both been stolen.
Andy, a civil servant of Broomhall Terrace, said: “I’m gutted. You lock your bike up and just expect it to be there when you get back.
“I have seen CCTV which showed three youths arriving to the scene at around 7.30pm, two on bikes, one on foot. They cut the bike locks, took both our bikes, and left one of theirs behind.”
Andy only bought his new bike in March ahead of a 1,000km charity event when he cycled from Normandy beach to Biarritz in France, raising £3,500 for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
He said: “All these bikes are of high value and I believe it is the same group targeting them in the area. One theft maybe doesn’t sound like much but when they add up we are talking thousands of pounds.”
Thieves have been targeting bikes across the western area of the capital including David Lloyd Edinburgh Corstorphine who sent an e-mail to members warning them of the recent thefts.
It read: “Due to recent incidents of bike thefts in the area and at our club we would like to warn members and their guests regarding parking your bicycle at the club.
“Thieves are using bolt cutters to cut through locks, despite having footage of them on camera and CCTV recordings given to police they have still to be apprehended.
“It appears to be the same gang who are targeting the area, if you see anything suspicious in our car park and in particular anyone trying to climb over fences into the car park please report this straight away.”
Other locations of reported thefts include Ladywell Medical Centre and Tesco. Police Scotland confirmed it wasn’t the only area affected.
Chief inspector Stevie Sutherland, local area commander for north west Edinburgh, added: “We are aware of a recent increase in bicycle thefts within the Corstorphine area and local officers are continuing to investigate these incidents to identify those responsible and return the bikes to their rightful owners. This issue is not unique to the North West of Edinburgh and other areas throughout the city have also been affected. We are therefore keen to ensure that cyclists have access to appropriate information that helps prevent them falling victim to theft.
“If you witness the theft of a bicycle or have information relating to a perpetrator of such offences then please contact us via 101.”
Anti-theft advice is available at www.scotland.police.uk.