Bike theft prevention plan to be launched

Operation Velo
Operation Velo
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A scheme tackling bicycle theft which has achieved success in other parts of Sussex, is coming to Horsham.

Funding has been approved for an extension to Operation Velo after a successful trial period where the number of bicycle thefts in Chichester, Bognor and Worthing were dramatically reduced.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, a total of 2798 bikes were stolen in Sussex. Of these thefts, 111 took place in Horsham, making up four per cent of the county’s total.

The initiative was set up by Sergeant Chris Pipkin of Sussex Police who believes the scheme may have played a part in the reduction in bicycle thefts in other areas.

He said: “We managed to get some money from our local council to fund the trial, and as a result of the success of the trial, other officers from other areas have contacted me and have been interested in setting up Operation Velo in their area.

“Loads and loads of bikes are nicked as a result of not being locked up.

“Owners will pop into a shop and leave their bike unlocked – bike theft is one of those opportunistic things.

“I hope we can encourage people to be confident that when they leave their bike and lock it up that it will be there when they get back, by telling the bike thief that we have something to combat them now.”

Operation Velo involves bicycles being marked with two stickers that identify the bike and are difficult to peel off.

Since the initiative began on January 10 Chichester has seen a 69 per cent reduction in bicycle theft. The figure has dropped by 28 per cent in Bognor and 21 per cent in Worthing.

Dates are to be announced where police officers in Horsham will be marking bicycles and offering security advice.

Police officers can check if a bicycle has been stolen by checking the bike for a unique mark, and connecting to to check the status of the bike and the details of the person registered to it.