Hampshire Incidents

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Operation Sideline launched to tackle bike theft in Portsmouth

Officers tackling bike theft in Portsmouth have carried out a dedicated week of action across the city


Operation Sideline took place between Monday 23 and Thursday 26 May, with the main focus being on disrupting those responsible for bike theft and bringing them to justice.


The operation also gave police the opportunity to develop local intelligence around bike theft and help try and reunite stolen bicycles with their rightful owners.    


Officers have been proactively patrolling across the city and working to target those who are attempting to steal bikes. As part of this, police arrested a 17-year-old boy from Reading who was seen by officers cutting a bike lock outside of Fratton Train Station.    


He was arrested on suspicion of theft of a pedal cycle and going equipped for theft. He has been released from police custody but remains under investigation whilst enquiries continue.    


Alongside this, officers have been out and about talking to bike shops and local businesses in order to gather intelligence and further understand the issue of bike theft in Portsmouth.    


Detective Sergeant Peter Eamer of Hampshire Constabulary’s Eastern Proactive Unit said: “We are pleased with the results of this operation and we will continue working hard to identify people responsible for cycle theft in Portsmouth and disrupt their criminal activity.    


“People living in the city can help us to tackle the problem by reporting suspicious activity to us and using a quality D lock to secure their bike. My message to thieves is simple, we are watching and we will catch you.” 


Portsmouth Chief Inspector Paul Markham said: “We do appreciate that people are concerned about bike theft in the city and the impact that such crime has on people’s lives must not be underestimated.    


“I hope that this operation reassures people that we are taking action. Rest assured, we will continue to focus our efforts on disrupting bike theft in Portsmouth and bringing the perpetrators to justice.   


“I would like to remind people to please record frame numbers and numbers for other bicycle parts using immobilise.com where you can register your property. This will hugely improve our chances of being able to reunite you with your property if it is stolen.”    


If you see our officers patrolling then please do approach them if you have any questions or concerns regarding bike theft.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of bike theft or would like to report suspicious activity you can call 101 or visit https://www.hampshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/     


Police would like to take this opportunity to remind you of some steps you can take to protect your bike: 


Double lock your bike wherever possible.


Using two locks slows thieves down and makes your bike less of a target.


Use two quality locks, at least one of which is a D-lock, as modelled in the picture.


Thieves are less likely to carry multiple tools, so use two different types of lock if possible.


Lock the lot.


Lock the frame and both wheels to a secure cycle stand.


Register it.


Register your frame number for free on a cycle database such as BikeRegister or immobilise.com. 


Alternative companies can be found on the Secured by Design website. The frame number is usually found underneath the bike between the pedals or where the back wheel slots in.


If your bike is ever stolen and recovered by the police, it can be traced back to you.


Mark it.


Get your bike security marked. It’s a highly effective, visible deterrent to bike thieves.


They know that if they are caught with a registered bike, the owner can be traced and they will be arrested.


BikeRegister provides a list of police bike marking events.


You can also mark your bike with SmartWater.


Act fast.


If your bike has been stolen, contact police as soon as possible by calling 101 or reporting online.


Give police your frame number, cycle database number, a photo and any other details and make sure you update the status on the cycle database where you registered it.


The sooner police know, the sooner they can act, which might stop it being sold on. 


For more information on how to protect your bike and what to do if your bike is stolen visit: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/how-safe-is-your-bike/