North-east cyclists warned lock up your bike or police might take it away

Sgt Craig Murray at Transition Extreme with skate park supervisor Douglas Castell.

Cyclists in the North-east who do not lock up their bikes may have them taken away by police officers.

The warning came as officers launched a campaign encouraging bicycle owners to think safe – or their two-wheeled vehicle could be stolen, or confiscated by police.

During the campaign, called Operation Lathe, police will be clamping down on thieves and urging people to buy quality chains.

When the operation ran last year, police recovered 31 bikes and 34 people were charged with bike theft during a six-week period last June and July.

At yesterday’s launch, Sergeant Craig Murray, who is leading the initiative told the Evening Express: “If we’re out and about and see a bike that is lying insecure then we will wait with that bike for a while to see if the owner comes back and, if not, we’re going to take it with us as found property.

“We need to protect that bike because, ultimately, the best thing for us to do is to take the bike out of sight to avoid it becoming a target of theft.”

He added: “It is nicer weather, people are out on their bikes a lot more and it is the perfect opportunity to launch the campaign to get people thinking about bike security over the coming months so they are not victims of crime.”

One common problem, said Sgt Murray, is people buying cheap locks for expensive bikes.

“My message would be – if you’re spending thousands of pounds on a bike, it is worth investing in a decent lock,” said Sgt Murray.

The launch was held at the indoor bike riding centre, Transition Extreme.

During the school holidays, staff will be holding outdoor biking events for youngsters, called Extreme Summer, at Northfield Skate Park and Torry Skate Park, plus Tesco stores in Bridge of Don, Kincorth and Woodside.

The initiative will encourage people to keep bikes secure.

Transition Extreme project co-ordinator Linzi Harrow said the company was excited to be supporting police in the fight against bike crime.

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