Fourteen bike owners have been reunited with their stolen bikes in the past two weeks, thanks to a new unit set up by Hackney Police to tackle bike thefts in the borough.
Hackney’s Cycle Crime Unit, made up of PC Maz Lovegrove and PC Nicola Irvine, has already undertaken two proactive operations, resulting in the recovery of nine high-value stolen pedal cycles, worth in the region of £6000.
One of the recovered bikes, was bought in Switzerland and cost the owner about £1000 including it’s transportation to the UK. The happy owner Yvonne Adenle said: “I was amazed and delighted to get my bike back, which had been stolen in a burglary in August 2010. I brought it over from Switzerland and I am a Swiss national so it was more than just an object to me. I would urge every bike owner to register their frame number. Had I not done this and put it on the police report, the police could not have traced the bike back to me when it was recovered. The Hackney Cycle Crime Unit has since educated me about immobilise.com, a website where you can record your frame number and which the police can also search.”
PC Maz Lovegrove of Hackney Police’s Cycle Crime Unit, said, “Cycling in Hackney is more popular than ever but unfortunately all too often bikes are seen as a soft target for thieves looking to make money. Our team is focused on cracking down on bike thieves operating in Hackney, reuniting stolen bikes with their owners and working with residents and visitors to help prevent them from becoming victims of bike theft or vandalism. We want people to be able to park up their beloved bicycle in the confidence that it will be there when they return.”
The Cycle Crime Unit are also working with local cycle shops in an effort to encourage them to register cycle frame numbers, at the time of purchase.
PC Lovegrove added, “Shops such as London Fields Cycles in Hackney already provide this service, which has assisted us in reuniting a number of stolen bikes with their owners. We are keen for all bike shops to offer this service to their customers as it costs the shops nothing and helps us identify stolen bikes.”
For those bikes whose owners can not be traced, Hackney’s Cycle Crime Unit has been working with five charities in Hackney, that need bikes for their work. 68 bikes have so far been donated to organisations, including:
- Pedal Power – a cycle club for people with learning disabilities
- Therapy and Life Skills Service at the City & Hackney Centre for Mental Health – working with adults with mental health issues.
- STA Bikes – community bike project
Jo Roach, project manager at Pedal Power, said, “Our range of specialised bikes allow people with profound and complex needs to enjoy cycling, with some of our members training for the Special Olympics. Pedal Power cycling club would like to thank Hackney Police for its donation of bikes.”
Suzanne Smith, Head Occupational Therapist at the Therapy and Life Skills Service at the City & Hackney Centre for Mental Health, said, “We are so grateful for this donation as the service users have been requesting this resource for a while now. It will benefit them greatly, as physical health and exercise is seen as of primary importance for mental health and well being. We greatly value the joint working between the police and the NHS.”
Hackney’s Cycle Crime Unit can be contacted at: [email protected]
Bicycles (and other property) can be registered free on www.immobilise.com, the largest free register of possession ownership and searchable register of stolen goods. In the event that the property is subsequently stolen, users can record any registered item as lost or stolen and this instantly appears on the Police National Stolen Equipment Database. This online checking service is used by all the UK Police forces to trace owners of stolen property.