Thieves are already targeting expensive bikes in Harrogate in the run up to the Tour de France, police have warned.
As reported in the Advertiser, a spate of burglaries in the town in recent weeks has seen £11,000 worth of cycles stolen in different raids on garages and sheds.
Now, as the town prepares to host the world’s biggest cycle race, police are warning people to step up their security and protect their valuable equipment.
“They are targeting homes where they think there might be expensive bikes,” said Sgt Tom Jackson, of the Harrogate Town Safer Neighbourhood Team.
“They are looking for signs - bike racks and roof racks on expensive cars. Our concern is that people have proper security and perhaps alarms for their garages and sheds.”
Thieves have targeted sheds and garages in residential streets between Harlow Moor and Leeds Road, mostly overnight.
Eight bikes were reported stolen between January 26 and February 8, ranging in value from £650 to £2,000.
Police say the thieves are coming prepared.
“They are targeting bikes in particular,” said Sgt Jackson. “Sometimes they are taking two or three - they must have a van to transport them.”
What’s more, he said, they can bypass basic locks.
“They are forcing doors,” he said. “Security within the garages is no barrier to these people. They are able to break locks, even when they are padlocked to the floor.”
Police are setting up a leaflet drop across parts of Harrogate to warn people about the spate and advise them on bike security.
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) James Skaith is also setting up bike marking days to encourage people to tag their bikes with signalling systems.
“We would urge people to fit alarms and check them regularly - some of these thefts have gone unnoticed for several days,” said Sgt Jackson.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for cycling in Harrogate at the moment, with the Tour de France coming. When people go out and buy their bikes, they need to think about how they secure them.
“They are expensive items, it’s not too much to secure it.”
l Two men from Leeds have been arrested in connection with the investigation. The pair, aged 43 and 21, were arrested on Monday and have been released on police bail as enquiries continue.