Bradley Stoke hit by surge in bike thefts

Photo of a bike parking shelter at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre.

An update on a previous article published on 17th November.

Local police are advising cyclists to review their security precautions after thirteen bikes were reported stolen from public locations within Bradley Stoke over the last twelve weeks.

Incidents recorded in November have included five bikes being taken from Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre (over three separate days), one from the Willow Brook Centre, one from Bradley Stoke Community School and one from Jubilee Green.

These incidents come after three bikes were stolen from outside homes or communal parking areas during September (in Snowberry Close, Manor Farm Crescent and Woodlands Lane) and two others taken from the Willow Brook Centre (one in each of September and October).

The latest figures are significantly higher than those from a year ago, when just one bike theft was recorded in Bradley Stoke over the corresponding three month period commencing 1st September 2016.

Police say that in most cases the thieves appear to have cut locks, however, in at least two cases the bikes had been left insecure.

Several of the bikes stolen from the leisure centre, at times between 8am and 4pm, are believed to belong to students at the nearby Bradley Stoke Community School. Despite the school providing on-site bike parking facilities, it is believed that some students are parking their bikes at less secure locations elsewhere in order to avoid being given a detention for arriving at school when not wearing a cycle helmet.

The parents of a number of young people who have had bikes stolen from the leisure centre have been critical of the venue’s commitment to deterring bike thefts, claiming that CCTV coverage of bike parking areas is inadequate and saying that the centre needs to “up its game”.

When the Journal put these claims to centre management, a spokesperson responded:

“Whilst any property, including bikes, is ultimately the individual responsibility of the owner, we of course want our customers to feel confident that property is as safe as possible.”

“We follow best practice guidelines by providing a lit bicycle park that is monitored by CCTV. Centre staff regularly check the car park and there is a 24-hour CCTV monitor in the duty manager’s office. We are currently looking at increasing CCTV coverage generally in the car park.”

Over at the Willow Brook Centre, manager Andy Wynn told the Journal:

“We work with the local police beat team across a number of initiatives and the focus recently has been on the upturn in bike thefts.”

“Our security team has increased both visible uniformed patrols and proactive CCTV patrols around the cycle racks. We have also worked with the beat team as they undertake plain clothes patrols around bike storage areas.”

“We are also currently working with a young victim of bike theft, the beat team and Bradley Stoke Radio to put on a ‘bike security and safe cycling’ event on 6th January [see below].”

Photo: Bike parking shelter at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre.

Related link: Keeping your bike secure (Avon and Somerset Police)

Victim plans bike security advice event

Photo of Josh Harding holding a bike lock and helmet.

A young victim of bike theft in Bradley Stoke has decided to “make something positive from a negative” by organising a ‘bike security & safe cycling’ event at the town’s Willow Brook shopping centre on Saturday 6th January.

Josh Harding had his locked Carrera Vulcan bike stolen from a bike rack at the Willow Brook Centre on 12th September. He says he had worked and saved hard for a whole year to buy his bike, which he had only had for seven weeks when it was stolen.

This was the second bike theft to be suffered by Josh’s family within the space of five months, coming after a burglary at their home in April in which a sports bike belonging to Josh’s father was stolen from garage.

Josh’s mum Sue, who is supporting him in the organisation of the event, said:

“The theft of Josh’s bike wiped out 12 months of his hard work at a stroke and made me really angry. I feel we need to channel our energies into something positive and this is why we decided to organise the event.”

Full details of the ‘Bike Fest @ The Stokes’ event will appear in the January BSJ magazine, delivered from 27th December.

Lock it or lose it, says PCSO Alicia Harvey

Along with PC Jamie Shiels’ statement about the recent thefts (see page 16 of the December BSJ magazine), I would like to add that on a recent patrol around the Willow Brook Centre I came across, on two separate occasions, multiple bikes that had been left without locks.

I was shocked about the owners’ lack of care for their bikes – this doesn’t apply to all young people, just the select few I met on this patrol. They were all aware of the recent increase in bike, thefts yet still didn’t care for their bikes. I explained about bike marking and registering bikes on the immobilise website; hopefully this may have an impact. Thieves do not care about the value of your bike, they will take it if they have the opportunity.

I will be taking part in the Bike Fest @ The Stokes event on 6th January [see above]. Come and say hello with your bike on that day and I or one of the South Gloucestershire police cadets will mark it up!

Statement from Bradley Stoke Community School

We encourage students to wear a helmet if they ride to and from school. Clearly we cannot monitor this outside of school grounds but students are aware that if they are seen not wearing a helmet as they arrive or depart the school grounds then they may be issued with a detention. We take the safeguarding of our students as our top priority.

The school policy on students needing to wear cycle helmets has been in place since the school opened. Recently, we have become aware that some students have been avoiding coming in to school on their bikes as they haven’t got their helmets with them, and have left their bikes at the leisure centre.

Although we are aware that a number of our students’ bikes have been stolen from the leisure centre, we have no plans to relax our policy on helmet wearing. We take our responsibility to keep young people safe seriously and continue to follow road safety advice which suggests that wearing a bike helmet significantly reduces the risk of a head injury if falling off, or being knocked off, a bike.

We know that the purchase of a bike often represents a significant amount of hard work and devotion (from families, and often students themselves) and know how upsetting it can be to have one stolen. We continue to work closely with the community police team to ensure that we share the latest advice in relation to the marking and identification of bikes, and the most effective locks.

This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 6 & 7). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

UPDATE (7th December 2017)

Following another theft of a locked bike from the grounds of Bradley Stoke Community School yesterday (Wednesday 6th December), the school has today issued the following further statement:

Due to the recent bike thefts from the school and in the surrounding area we will be locking our pedestrian access gate from Champs Sur Marne during the day, but it will be open for students to use in the morning and after school.

We are helping the police with their enquiries and our CCTV footage has been made available to them.

In an effort to minimise the chances of students bikes being stolen the recommended bike lock is a Tungsten D Lock which is very solid and would need heavy equipment to enable it to be removed.

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