Beverley bike thefts see £43k worth stolen in two months
THE explosion of interest in cycling is blamed for soaring levels of bike crime.
Thieves see sheds and outbuildings as easy targets, particularly when they contain thousands of pounds' worth of equipment.
Huge interest following cycling success in the Olympics and news that the Tour de France is coming to Yorkshire next year means more people taking up the sport.
Almost £43,000 of bikes and accessories have been stolen in the Beverley area alone in the past two months.
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James Harper, 34, of Leven, lost £10,000 of mountain bikes when his shed was raided on January 22.
He is now offering a reward for information that leads to their return.
Mr Harper said: "The insurance isn't going to cover what the bikes are worth.
"The reality is I'll probably not get them back.
"I don't want to advertise the amount of the reward. I just hope someone might feel like shopping someone for a bit of cash.
"Cycling is becoming more and more popular so there are a lot of people with expensive bikes."
Mr Harper is like many cyclists who have built up their collection over many years. He now faces the complicated and expensive job of starting from scratch.
The bikes he lost were a silver Felt Virtue, a blue and white Felt Z100, a black Pace 305 x-cam and a red Pace RC200.
Mr Harper believes the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for at his house.
He said: "The criminals seemed to have good knowledge that I had the bikes, where the bikes were and then they made every effort to leave the crime scene as if it was untouched.
"Those first moments when you see the space where your bikes should be and the realisation someone has been on your property and taken what is yours is just sickening.
"Bikes have always been part of my life, for as long as I can remember. Every birthday and Christmas gift has been somehow bike-related. "Although just pieces of metal, my bikes mean far more than that, they are memories."
PCSO Sarah Freer, of Beverley Police Station, said: "High-value bicycles can be stripped to their component parts and sold on individually making identification extremely difficult.
"I would advise all owners of bicycles to review the security of where they are stored and, if necessary, consider fitting an alarm and additional locks to prevent easy access for a burglar.
"Some of these bicycles represent several thousand pounds worth of investment and in some cases are of similar value to a family car.
"Owners should ensure they are fully protected under their home insurance and take photographs to assist the police if the bicycle is stolen."