Police crackdown on rising bike theft on Thameslink line

Police have launched a new campaign to tackle bike thieves

Police have launched a new campaign to tackle bike thieves - Credit: Archant

A concentrated effort on bike thefts on the Thameslink route between St Pancras and Bedford station is underway.

‘Sting’ bicycles fitted with tracking devices and invisible SmartWater are being placed along the train route, including several stations, as a scheme to catch unsuspecting thieves.

The introduction of the so-called ‘trap bikes’ by British Transport Police (BTP) comes in the midst of a serious rise in bike theft in the Herts area.

Sergeant Fiona Wynn from BTP said: “Over the past few years we have seen an increase in passengers using bikes to travel to and from railway stations.

“Unfortunately this has also provided increased opportunities for thieves and due to them being relatively easy to steal and dispose of, bikes sadly remain an attractive target for thieves.

Adding her advice, “Correctly securing a bike in a cycle hub and ensuring your bike is marked and registered will deter a thief from stealing or attempting to steal a bike.”

BTP have teamed up with SmartWater to prepare the tampered bikes. Not only are they fitted with trackers which alert the police if the bike is moved, but the bikes are also marked with a transferrable form of SmartWater, which could link the criminal directly to the crime scene.

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SmartWater is developed to mark the skin and clothing of anyone it comes into contact with, but is only visible under UV light.

Gary Higgins, director of security services from SmartWater, said: “SmartWater are very pleased to be supporting BTP in this drive to reduce the number of bike thefts from St Albans railway station.

“SmartWater has a long and successful track record of forensically linking criminals to the scene of their crime. If you choose to steal bikes from St Albans railway station you now run the very real risk of being caught and linked, with the help of SmartWater, to your crime.”

While the exact details of the methods in place are being kept under wraps, it is certain that the use of trap bikes will aid in the catching and prosecution of offenders.

It is hoped that the awareness of the tracked bikes will deter potential threats from attempting to commit bike theft in the first place.

Sergeant Wynn added: “We have been very overt about the use of trap bikes in hotspots areas. We want thieves to be aware that they are in use.”