Where you are most likely to get your bike stolen in Norfolk
- Credit: Savjune Bogdaite
With the pandemic making bicycle use more prevalent, especially among those looking to avoid public transport, thefts have also become more of a problem.
In some cases thieves have even been prepared to make off with a bike and leave their own inferior model behind.
Data from Norfolk Police shows nearly 4,000 bikes were stolen over the last three and a half years with numbers climbing in the last few months.
For many of those owners taking what could be their prized possession and only form of transport could have a much deeper impact.
The NHS worker left her distinctive sky blue bicycle locked to railings in Camperdown, Great Yarmouth, when it was stolen between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Monday June 7.
She said: "I worked hard all through the pandemic and I cycle to work," she said. "I look after my things and just the thought that someone has my property is upsetting."
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However, in a rare turn of events the bike was recovered and she was reunited with her pride and joy thanks to the vigilance of the Lithuanian community.
She is now even more careful where she leaves it and has a super strong lock that determined thieves could potentially get through although it would take longer.
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Data from Norfolk Police reveals that from 2018 to July 2021 nearly 4,000 bikes were reported as stolen across Norfolk.
The figures break down as 1,260 in 2018, 1,403 om 2019, 877 in 2020 and 416 up July 8, 2021 - a total of 3,956.
Norwich East shows up as the area targeted most by bike thieves accounting for a whopping 1,196 thefts, the city as a whole reporting 2,089 of the total.
Predictably, other hot spots are to be found in the main urban areas, Yarmouth totting up 378 thefts, and Kings Lynn North and Gaywood 458.
In the vast majority of cases (3,188) no suspect was identified and the case was closed.
Charges were made in 126 cases.
While the figures show a general downward trend across a zig-zag of peaks and troughs, thefts hit a low during the first lockdown of 2020 when everyone was ordered to stay indoors, with just 39 offences in April.
This year instances are on the rise again with 56 in January rising to 89 in May - although they still remain lower than in July three years ago when there were 129 offences.
How to keep your bike safe?
According to We Are Cycling UK it is best to use two different locks securing both the wheel and the frame. Any lock might be a deterrent to an opportunist while a good lock might put off a professional or at least take longer to release.
Ideally keep your bike inside your home or in a well secured shed or garage. When out and about leave it in a public place, preferably covered by CCTV, rather than hidden away or down an alley.
They also suggest etching your postcode on your frame, registering the bike with a cycle data base like Bike Register, or removing the saddle and taking it with you.
Theft may be covered on house insurance, but possibly only for your home. You may want to consider cycle-specific insurance.