CYCLISTS are being urged to secure their pride and joy properly as the war against bike thieves steps up a gear.

The theft of bikes from sheds, schools, streets and stations is a growing trend across the country, with more than 5,300 stolen last year.

In response British Transport Police (BTP) has launched Operation Wiggins.

Officers regularly undertake covert and high-profile policing operations to catch cycle thieves in the act and work closely with Home Office police forces to share information and manage offenders.

They also work with stations and train operators to ‘design out crime’ or ‘target harden’ at cycle hubs or racks to make it more difficult for thieves to steal.

Regular checks are also made on online auction and second hand dealer sites, and visits made to markets and shops to ensure stolen bikes are not being sold on.

Supt Jason Bunyard, who heads up Operation Wiggins, said: “Over the past few years we have seen an increase in passengers using bikes to travel to and from railway stations.

“Following continued investments in cycling infrastructure, events such as the Tour de France, and with people being more conscious of the environment and their health, there has been a huge surge in their popularity.

“Unfortunately this has also provided increased opportunities for thieves – due to them being relatively easy to steal and dispose of bikes sadly remain an attractive target for thieves.

“More bikes stolen will lead to in an increase in insurance claims resulting in higher insurance premiums for everyone.”

Police are now appealing to cyclists to increase their security methods.

“Thieves need to operate quickly to reduce their chances of being caught, having a heavy duty lock will make their job much more difficult and they are more likely to abandon any attempt to steal your bike," Supt Bunyard said.

“Its quite surprising that someone would spend over £1,000 on a bike then use a £5 lock to secure it.

"We would always recommend spending at least 10 per cent of the bike cost on an appropriate lock “Don’t be tempted in purchasing a bargain bike online, from someone on the street or down the pub either with no questions asked. You could be prosecuted for handling stolen goods and will be landed with a criminal record.

"Always insist on a proof of ownership and check the bike frame number on”


Tips to keep your bike secure:

• Get your bike security marked and registered at

• Record details of your bike, including the frame number and other distinguishing features and take a photo of it. This will be crucial in identifying and recovering your bike if its is stolen.

• Use locks of gold ‘sold secure’ standard and use two different types, with at least one being a high quality D-lock. It takes thieves a few seconds to cut through poor quality locks so make it as difficult for them as possible.

• Always lock your bicycle whenever you leave it at a designated cycle rack area. Lock the frame and both wheels to a cycle stand.

• Make the lock(s) and bike hard to manoeuvre. Secure your bike as close to the stand as possible.

• Take parts that are easy to remove with you, such as saddles or wheels or use secure skewers. Never leave computers or high value cycling gadgets on your bike. 

• Always lock your bike in a recognised secure cycle parking area that is well lit and covered by CCTV.