Warning bike thieves are using new tactics to target cyclists in Bristol

  • Watch India Wentworth's report here

Police have warned cyclists in Bristol that they could be being followed by thieves.

The warning from Avon and Somerset Police said thieves are targeting high-value mountain bikes, e-bikes, and motorbikes. 

Jack Allen’s bike was locked up in a private shed when it was taken. He said: “We came down in the morning and I came to get the bike out and the lock wasn’t actually on, and the whole mechanism had been smashed.” 

The police statement said there’s been a “number of incidents” in several areas across Bristol - Stoke Bishop, Westbury on Trym, Sneed Park, Westbury Park, Henleaze, Ashton Court and Clifton Downs areas. 

Jack's bike was taken from a private shed. Credit: ITV News

Jack said that although he’s seen a rise in cases in his community, he needs to keep cycling.

He said: “In the past three years on our community WhatsApp group there have been several bike thefts. 

“Cycling really is the only option to get from A to B in any sort of decent time round here. 

“We need safe, secure cycle storage on the streets covered with CCTV - a lot more money put into cycle safety, policing, and cycle infrastructure.” 

Beth Killen was working in the centre of Bristol when her bike was taken. 

Beth was working in the city and came down to find her bike gone. Credit: ITV News

She said: “I locked my bike up on one of these bike racks here, started my shift and that was about 5pm, and then about 10pm I came down to use the toilets which are just there and I noticed my bike had gone.

“Anyone you talk to in Bristol knows about someone who’s had a bike stolen or they’ve got a story about their bike being stolen. It’s rife in this city.” 

The police statement says: “The offenders' modus operandi or MO is to possibly follow residents to find out where they live and return later to steal the items. 

“Check to see if you are being followed and try to obtain relevant vehicle details and descriptions of suspects. 

“Also, consider taking different routes home and target hardening your property, for example CCTV, camera doorbells, alarms, better locks, better locks and/or air tags for bikes, using Secured by Design products.” 

Beth is worried about cycling into the city now. Credit: ITV News

Beth said: “It’s certainly put me off cycling into the centre and locking up my bike in the centre. Just scared to do that now.” 

A spokesperson for the police said: “We do understand the impact of this type of theft and we’re targeting hotspots and offenders with a range of resources and tactics.

“We routinely carry out free bike-marking sessions for cyclists at which riders are offered further security advice.”

They also want people to report suspicious behaviour and said they will attend “whenever they can”. Call 101 or report it online.

They said: “We do always have to prioritise our attendance through an assessment of threat, harm and risk, but if we can't attend due to other ongoing incidents, we’ll use the information to help us target our patrols, and we'll still carry out enquiries."

Tips from Avon and Somerset Police on how to secure your bike in public or at home: 

  • Use disc locks, ideally those with mini alarms fitted, every time you leave the your motorbike.

  • Install a tracker and monitoring app.

  • Chain the bike to an immovable object with a quality chain and padlock.

  • Where possible park it in a busy, overlooked area, ideally with CCTV and street lighting.

  • Record the VIN or frame number and etch or stamp it on other parts on the bike.

  • Keep it secured with a ground anchor (even within your shed or garage if you have one).

  • Install motion-sensing security lighting and CCTV.

  • Always set an alarm.

  • Join or set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

Upcoming bike-marking events: Weston-super-Mare / Bristol / Paulton