London bike theft crackdown: Police launch ‘Operation Wiggins’ in bid to combat bicycle crime

London cyclists are being urged to mark, register and use heavy duty locks when securing their bikes at railway stations to combat bike thefts.

A whopping £1.5million worth of bikes were swiped from railway stations across the country last year.

In response to this the British Transport Police are today holding a national day of action called ‘Operation Wiggins’ to highlight the weaknesses thieves exploit.

Superintendent 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.”

Today officers will be holding cycle surgeries at South West London stations including Twickenham Station (8am-12.30pm), Surbiton Station (9am-5pm) and East Croydon (10am-7pm).

Here cyclists will be issued crime prevention advice as well as offering security marking for their bikes.

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.

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

Correctly securing a bike using a good quality gold standard lock and ensuring your bike is marked and registered will deter a thief from stealing or attempting to steal a bike.

The majority of the 5318 bikes stolen from the railway network last year were not secured correctly or had substandard locks.

Superintendent Bunyard added: “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.

“It’s quite surprising that someone would spend over £1000 on a bike then use a £5 lock to secure it.

“We would always recommend spending at least 10% 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 and advice to keep you bike secure

  • Get your bike security marked and register 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 it’s 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 – 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 of 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.
  • If your bike is stolen contact BTP on 0800 405040. Having your Bike Register number, a photo and any other details to hand.

Image courtesy of BTP via YouTube, with thanks

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