Cycle theft in Bristol

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  • Cycle theft in Bristol
  • mt

    Expertise in stoping bike theft is required with your job, not any ability on a bike so your welcome. You could do worse though than meeting a few riders. Good luck.


    Is that pronounced new-found-land or (the correct) “noofanland” ?



    Nice to see you attempting to do something. I dunno how much you have browsed this forum but it moves quickly so you might need to bump this post a few times so everyone affected can see it.

    A search for threads about bristol bike theft might be handy for you as well


    Nice one. Good luck with your efforts.

    PC Frank

    Hello everyone,
    I am a new user on this forum and wanted to introduce myself to you all.

    My name is Frank and I am a police officer working with the Community Safety Team at Newfoundland Road Police Station.

    One of my roles is to reduce bike theft in Bristol city over the next two years in tandem (haha) with the timetable for cycling city.

    I wanted to join this forum so that users would have an opportunity to contact me directly and discuss the issue of bike theft.

    Now for the contriversal part…….are you ready……..(deep breath)…….I am not a cyclist.

    However, I do know something about crime reduction and I am concerned about the level of theft in the city and want to help prevent people becoming victim’s of crime.

    I hope that my presence on this forum will be of benefit to you. I won’t always be able to provide the result you desire, and I won’t always be able to tell you everything the police is doing (some of it is a bit secret squirrel). But I wil do my best to assist and advise you.



    PC 1422 Frank Simonds
    Crime Prevention Design Advisor
    Bristol Community Safety Team
    Newfoundland Road Police Station


    Thanks for joining here Frank. I suspect you will be busy!


    I spoke to you on the phone a month or two back regarding your spokes pamphlet, (i’m the locksmith) i can give you a joined up list of bike thefts from my customers(with their permission, of course) as i know most of your colleagues put this down as a simple burglary so it wouldn’t always come up as a stolen bike on your reports.
    i’ve also spoken to larry from southmead nick just a couple of weeks ago(who is also skulking on this forum), i’m assuming your working together but from different stations.

    Anyhow give me a call if i can be of use to you, my email and number is in my profile.


    PC Frank

    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone.

    Flatfish – I am on a number of forums and have been looking at your efforts already – well done. Am a bit snowed under so may not call immediately, but I will contact you.


    PC Frank

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable

    I’ve posted Frank’s contact details on in case anyone wants specific advice on prevention.

    I think a rider/police meeting has been tentatively suggested but nothing definite arranged as yet.


    Mods – can u add as sticky!!


    Good to ‘meet’ you Frank though I’m hoping that I don’t have cause to meet you in real life…

    I guess that the thing I’d really like to know/understand is what the Police’s view is on the apparent surge in serious bike theft in Bristol – specifically the massive rise in what seems to be targetted theft – eg follow cyclists home and then break into their garage in the evening and steal all their bikes.

    We can all stop or reduce the chances of bikes being stolen about town by riding a crap commuting bike and having a decent lock but bikes being nicked from your home is a major concern for us all, not least because once it’s happened, it’s easy for the thieves to repeatedly target you.


    Hi PC Frank

    Now for the contriversal part…….are you ready……..(deep breath)…….I am not a cyclist.

    i think to achieve your aim you should look to become one

    contact and we’ll assist you in every way we can


    Shouldn’t you be out looking for stolen bikes instead of posting on internet forums?

    Not sure you joke about in tandem is really appropiate either

    Apart from that good to have you here – do you know if there is going to be a countrywide strategy/campaigm

    Premier Icon postierich

    I think a lot of people on here need to “Talk to FRANK” but not through cycling concerns! 😀

    Good to see the Police taking a proactive role in reducing/stopping theft.



    Shouldn’t you be out looking for stolen bikes instead of posting on internet forums?

    I’d have thought posting on here to hear about specific thefts / experiences is a very good way of attempting to deal with the issue of stolen bikes and preventing others getting lost in the system. Great initiative imho.


    Lanesra – Member

    Shouldn’t you be out looking for stolen bikes instead of posting on internet forums?

    Not sure you joke about in tandem is really appropiate either

    Is that a joke or are you just being ignorant?

    PC Frank

    Hello, hello, hello!

    Thanks for all the posts. In relation to thefts from homes / garages and sheds. Some people are reporting this form of theft and this is a serious offence.

    In Bristol, the majority of bikes are still stolen from the street, many as a result of being locked inadequately (either thorugh use of inferior locks and / or bad locking etiquette).

    Whilst it is prudent to be aware of your surroundings and who is nearby when returning home, I do not wish people to become so worried that they are reluctant to go cycling.

    Everyones situation will be different, and the advice I give here may not be practical for everyone's circumstances.

    The most secure place to keep a bike is in the house (not so easy if you live in a one room flat); than a garage; then a shed and finally storing outside leaves your bike the most vulnerable.

    If storing outside, remember to store in a concealed location near a window where you can keep an eye on it and cover your bike to protect it from prying eyes (and the elements).

    Some companies sell bike lockers for domestic use. Always go for a locker that is accredited by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Secured by Design scheme ( Not a cheap option, but good if you don't have room for a shed or garage.

    Consider investing in a ground anchor. An anchor with a sold secure rating will be best as they have been tested against attack. Visit for more details.

    I would recommend that the anchor is mounted on a wall as this will prevent locks having contact with the ground which leaves them vulnerable to lever, bolt cropper and chisel attacks.

    When locking at home, I would encourage everyone to invest in motorcycle locking equipment as this is stronger and as you are not taking the equipment out with you, weight is not an issue.

    If you are storing in a shed or garage consider investing in a simple alarm system. Most DIY stores will sell a cheap system with Passive Infra Red (PIR sensors). This will not be connected to a monitoring station, but will make a loud noise when activated which may cause the offenders to leave and allow you to call the police. Remember to put warnings stickers outside the shed / garage to further dissuade offenders.

    When locking remember to lock the back wheel, frame and item you are locking to; the front wheel, frame and to lock the seat to the frame, or take it into the home.

    There are good products available to reinforce and lock garage doors. If purchasing these, check that they are sold secure and / or secured by design approved and that once fitted there is not the opportunity for offenders to peel the lower corner of a garage door to gain access. In this case it may be worth fitting two of the same product to prevent this.

    Security measures that are homemade or improvised may look intimidating, but can usually be defeated by a thief as a result of poor design or being constructed from inadequate materials.

    I monitor the security industry for new technology and products that are on sale, and if I can recommend the cheapest option, I will.

    I hope this helps.

    Stay safe and vigilant,



    Frank thanks for the reply and the tips – I do appreciate you making the effort to come on here and communicate directly.

    But… without wanting to come across too negative, that isn't really new and doesn't get to the root of the problem that most of us are concerned about.

    If I lock a bike up in town/outside/etc then I accept that there's a reasonable chance of it getting stolen so I use a crap bike with a decent lock. I don't like the fact that that's the situation but I can live with it since I have some control over it (eg have a cheap bike or choose alternative travel or make sure that I can lock my bike up somewhere secure).

    What I and I think most other cyclists in Bristol that I know of are really concerned about is the seemingly organised crime that is targeting people's homes/garages after presumably following them home. All the tips you've made above are useful but I know several people who've done those things and still had their bikes stolen from garages – there's basically nothing that you can hope to do other than make it more inconvenient if they're organised enough to have the right tools and understand how to stop alarms and so on. What we all want to hear about is what is being done to stop this organised theft since once it's happened, you're stuffed unless you either move house or bring all your bikes in the house – neither of which are very practical for most.

    The perception, right or wrong is that the Police don't really care about it that much since it's reported differently (eg it doesn't count as a burglary) if it's not a break in at the main home (eg it's a garage or shed instead). Can you please give us some info that will show us that this isn't the case and explain how you're trying to stop the organised theft.

    Again, despite all the above, we appreciate that you are taking this on but aren't particularly reassured that beyond you, it's being taken seriously.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable

    Good post Clubber, but from chatting to the coppers who recovered my bike it seems that the police are only going to be able to give out a limited amount of info about initiatives to tackle crime without letting the cat out of the bag.


    Yeah, I figured as much. I'm not looking for details, just something to make me believe that they are actually taking it seriously! There's been a sudden jump in this organised stuff in the last three or so years I reckon so either the crims have had a big huddle like in the latest Batman film and all realised that there's money to be made from nicking bikes or, more likely I reckon, there's a small number of gangs doing it in which case, sorting them out would make a big difference.

    Premier Icon Driller

    PC Frank, thanks for the further post.

    I echo clubber's comments.

    I would, however, like to clearly point out that the majority of thefts in and around Bristol may well be of bikes left on the street, but I am completely sure that this does not constitute anywhere near the majority of the Value of bikes stolen.

    The type of theft that the majority of Bristol Mountian Bikers are concerned with is Targeted, Organised theft of High-End, Valuable Mountain Bikes from inside people's homes and outbuildings. A typical bike that we are talking about is probably worth in the region of £3,000 – £4,000 or more. The thieves are not simply kids wanting a new bike; in several instances the frame of the bike was cut to facilitate the theft. These bikes are clearly being broken up and sold as parts in an organised way.

    I realise that you stated in your post that you are not a cyclist, and therein lies a problem. Lots of non-cyclists find it difficult to conceive that even small parts of a Mountain Bike can sell for hundreds of pounds, even second hand. The theft of my bike, just one bike, probably nettet the thief (or whoever sold on the parts) in the region of £3,000. This is serious business for them.

    If there were a crime spree of people in Bristol having thousands of pounds worth of jewelery stolen from their houses by apparently organised criminals, the perception amoungst us is that it would be taken much more seriously by the Police, and not for example take the force three days to even attend the crime scene (as was the case with my theft).

    Statements that tell us that the Police consider the majority of the crime, and therefore their focus, is on bikes stolen from the street is very frustrating and leads us to believe that the Police do not understand the nature of the crime, or those perpretrating it, and will therefore fail to fight it in any effective way.

    I hope this doesn't come across as negative. It is very important to us that the Police clearly understand the nature of these thefts. My perception, and that of many other cyclists, is that the Police do not understand it at all and our crimes get lost, just because of which box gets ticked when we report it.

    You may well say that this isn't true, but is this is clearly the perception of the victims of these crimes and the Police need to address that and convince us that something is being done to address this increasing problem.

    Premier Icon austen

    Again thanks PC Frank for coming on here and hopefully this forum will, in it's own small way, contribute to reducing the problem.

    I completely agree with Driller and clubber and have also had valuable bikes stolen in a targeted attack on my garage a few years ago. My additional concern is of the reports of attacks or attempted attacks (maybe only a couple over the last few years) in and around Leigh Woods, Still Woods etc.

    Whilst I suspect that these are taken more seriously by the police, many of us believe these to be linked to the organised, targeted thefts from properties. It has certainly made me think twice about night riding alone in the area.

    Good luck, here's looking forward to some positive news.

    Hi PC Frank, let's hope you and Larry Jones can make a difference.

    A few people on here will have heard my theft stories already, the most alarming of which involved the thieves gaining entry to my house using a large axe and stealing 2 bikes while the burglar alarm was sounding. Pretty scary stuff, if I had kids I'd be thinking of moving.

    When crime evolves from a fairly simple theft of a bike from an outbuilding, to something this violent, that's when I start to get worried for my own safety. Good to know the police and not just my insurance company will hopefully be getting involved.

    So, what's the next step?


    As I have said on other posts previously, I think the general publics attitude is that either most bikes cost less than £100 and are therefore "expendable" as they are percieved as dead cheap to replace. If you have spent hundereds or thousands on your bike, you are percieved as an idiot who wastes money and deserves to loose out to thefts. As sort of covered in a post further up, £3000 stolen of anything else (cars, personal items etc) would be taken nuch more seriously.

    Like cycle lanes, cycle thefts often seem to be viewed as things to 'go throught the motions' with, but off the record as of no real consequence at all. I appreciate the Policeman coming on here, its a good thing and a move in a positive direction.

    What we really want is a bunch of bikes with tracking devices so that the theft ring can be broken up (I realise it may not be that simple in real life)and some high profile publicity if there is a good result, as the thieves know as well as the rest of us that they are very low priority.

    A few years back I heard rumours that bikes were being nicked in London, broken up and the parts sold in Bristol – it must be well worth the risks and profit to put that much effort in, if indeed the rumour was true.


    Earlier in the year my garage was heavily targeted (6 attempts that I know of in 4 weeks), on one occasion they got in but thanks to my security measures we knew they were there and scared them off, it was a gang of 4 – 6 youths.

    At the time the police were close to useless, said they would attend, then rang 2 hours later to tell me that they couldn't make it so they would be around the following night, which they were and were of no use whatsoever, what could they do 24 hours after the event!

    Lets hope your initiative improves things.

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