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More than one hundred 'stolen' bikes recovered in East London

Haul found by police after alleged thieves attempted to sell them online. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Joseph Delves
10 Aug 2020

Police in Hackney, East London have found a haul of what looks to be 118 stolen bikes following a raid on a property. Two men, aged 21 and 60, were arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and possession of criminal property.

With the bikes found earlier this month, police are now trying to reunite owners with their machines, urging anyone from Hackney or Tower Hamlets who’s had a bicycle stolen in the last six months to get in contact.

'If you want to find out whether it's one of the bikes seized, email CE-MiST@met.police.uk with as much information as possible about the bike – make, model, colour and/or serial number, and a picture if available,' explained a police spokesperson.

Since the Government began urging people to avoid public transport due to coronavirus, cycling has boomed in the capital. And with many shops sold out of bicycles, the second-hand market is buoyant enough to have piqued the interest of London’s already industrious bicycle thieves.

With police across London reporting a spike in bike thefts, in this instance, officers found the bicycles after 11 people reported seeing their machines being sold online. In the police’s somewhat conservative estimate, the 118 bikes they recovered could be worth around £30,000.

Buying second-hand

Should you be considering purchasing a second-hand bike, first make every effort to ensure it’s not stolen. This should include quizzing the seller about the bike and asking for receipts. Since Gumtree disabled the ability to search for sellers’ phone numbers via Google, it’s become harder to discover which members have multiple listings.

When calling, say ‘I’m calling about the bike’. If the person asks which one, you’ll know it’s someone with multiple listings.

If paying cash, it’s also worth noting the security implications of arriving to meet someone you don’t know, but who knows you likely have a large wedge of cash in your pocket.

Similar precautions should be taken when selling your bike, as there’s nothing to stop someone arranging to meet you somewhere secluded and making off with your bicycle.

With stolen bikes often turning up on listings sites, Cyclist has also heard reports of cons involving fraudulent sellers demanding to be sent ‘holding deposits’ of up to £100.

You can check if a bike has been registered as stolen on bikeregister.com/bike-checker, where you can also register your own bicycle. When police recover bikes, they often check this database, so doing so is a good way to protect yourself as well.

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