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Suffolk/Essex: Anger as just 7% of stolen bikes are returned to owners

12:00 25 February 2013

Less than one in 10 of stolen bikes are returned to their owners.

Less than one in 10 of stolen bikes are returned to their owners.


THOUSANDS of bikes are being stolen across the region – and less than one in 10 are being returned to their owners, causing anger among cyclists.


Figures have revealed thieves took 2,995 bikes in seven major towns across Suffolk from 2010-2012, with police only managing to retrieve 206 – just 7% – leaving bike owners thousands of pounds out of pocket and frustrated.

Keith Halton, of the Suffolk Cyclists’ Touring Club, said the thefts cause much more than just a financial setback.

He said: “For anybody whose bike is stolen, it is very disappointing and frustrating.

“Not only have you probably lost quite a lot of money, but it causes a huge amount of inconvenience.

“People use bikes as part of their lives; they need it to get to work and back and it’s a main form of exercise for a lot of people.”

The figures, revealed under Freedom of Information laws, showed nearly two bikes a day were stolen on average in Ipswich in 2011 – with just 4% recovered.

Ipswich also had the lowest return rate in the study over the whole period. Just 90 out of 1,690 bikes were found – a 5% return record.

Only 14 out of 199 bikes seized in Bury St Edmunds were recovered from 2010-2012, while Felixstowe boasted the best return rate with 17% of stolen bikes reunited with their owner.

In north-east Essex, just three out of 153 (2%) bikes were recovered in Colchester in 2011, while two out of 66 Braintree bikes were found and only 11 out of 142 bikes in Clacton were rediscovered in 2012.

Elsewhere, no bikes were returned in Hadleigh or Woodbridge last year, 49 out of 687 bikes were retrieved in Lowestoft in the three-year period, and only 7% of bikes were returned to their owners in Newmarket over the period.

Police officer Kevin Rolt, who is also chairman of the Newmarket Cycling and Triathlon Club, said cyclists must remain vigilant.

He said: “It is a serious matter. There have only been around five thefts at the club in the last five years but they are expensive bikes and cost thousands of pounds.

“One member left his shed door open in his garden for just 20 minutes while he went to the kitchen and someone had taken his bike.

“When people are on holiday in caravan or holiday parks, they become vulnerable to thieves because they are in a relaxed mood as well.

“Every time you buy a bike, you should record the serial number. It is incredible how many people report crimes of bikes and do not have that, which makes it a lot more difficult to retrieve the bike.”

A Suffolk police spokesman said: “We take the issue of bike thefts very seriously and will always do our best to recover items and reunite them with their rightful owners.”



  • I love my bike enough never to leave it unsecured, or out in public. If you dont want your property stolen try not to leave it in full view and use flimsy locks.

    Report this comment


    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • So where are all these bikes going ? There are so many bikes for sale on selling sites these days - coincidence ?

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • A Suffolk police spokesman said: “We take the issue of bike thefts very seriously and will always do our best to recover items and reunite them with their rightful owners.” Thats not the experince my son or my husband had. Both had info on where and who had stolen their bikes on their own detective work, the police were astonishingly bad at following up matters, so much so the bikes were sold on again more than once, the bikes were retrieved eventually but down to our work not theirs.

    Report this comment

    C Smith

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • The reason bikes are not getting back to their owners is that without the Frame number how can the police be sure that they are giving the rightful owner their bike back . Bike shops do not even record the frame number when they sell bikes either . Many cycles are found every year but are never identified due to this and are sold at auction . Also hundreds of cycles are stolen due to ineffective locks being used . Cycles are expensive and should be looked after more by the owners . People leave a £1000 bike in a shed , made of wood , with a £3 lock on it etc etc

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Monday, February 25, 2013

  • 20 years ago there was a dedicated officer at Ipswich who dealt with cycle theft alone and the detection rate was very good Today management are not willing to start with small acorns and put resources in for these obviously petty crimes What a laughable quote from the Constabulary spokesperson straight out of page six of quotes to the Press Gone are the days when the Public supported the Police wholeheartedly

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Monday, February 25, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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