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ITV News has uncovered evidence that the website Gumtree is being routinely used to sell bikes stolen in London. One victim found SIX of his stolen bikes for sale online -- one even had his name printed on it.
Cyclist Campaigners have called on Gumtree to do more to prevent the illegal trade: Dan Hewitt investigates.
Sam Diamond, from classified ads site Gumtree, says there are more than 20,000 bikes on the site at the moment - and the vast majority are from genuine buyers and sellers.
Since the start of an initiative between TfL and police in October 2012:
- Bike thefts have fallen by 11% in London with more than 2,000 fewer offences
- The number of reported bike thefts from October 2012 to the end of August 2013 was 19,052
- That compares with 21,488 in 2012
- And, 20,411 in 2011 over the same time period
The London Cycling Campaign has issued the following advice to avoid inadvertently buying stolen bikes online:
- Ask the seller where they got the bike
- Ask for identification, a landline phone number or a workplace email
- Ask for an original purchase receipt
- Expect a genuine photo of the actual bike, not a catalogue picture
- Ask for a receipt for the transaction with their signature and address (you may need it for identification purposes)
- Ask for a bike frame number, which can be checked against lists of stolen bikes
London Cycling Campaign is warning internet sites which don't require identification are becoming popular for thieves selling on bikes. Often, a thief won't post a real photo of the bike, and will expect a quick sale, often conducted by mobile phone and on a street corner or outside a pub.