Phone apps linked to rise in expensive bike thefts

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Thieves are using phone apps and social media to target high-value bicycles, according to the police.

Officers said there has been an increase in burglaries in the Penwortham area, where outbuildings containing expensive bikes are raided, while neighbouring properties are left alone.

There have been 21 offences in recent months across the town, with one of the racing bikes worth around £3,000.

Cyclists are now being warned against ‘advertising’ their bikes by using GPS apps such as Stava, which show where rides are setting off from and finishing - typically a person’s home.

A spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said: “These offences seem to be very specific in that, the offenders are only breaking into garages and sheds that contain cycles and not the neighbouring properties.

“It may be as simple as the victim is being seen regularly out and about on the bikes.

“Also visible cycle racks on vehicles parked on driveways to the properties and even the use of social media GPS applications that people use to map a ride and then upload the result to other parties to view, like Strava, can all advertise that expensive cycles are located within the properties.

“We are asking for people to take consideration and be vigilant, to consider security and if possible, to remove visible cycle racks from vehicles.”

He added: “The local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be in the area providing reassurances and crime prevention advice and appeal for any information to lead to the identity of the offenders.

“We are also interested to hear if any persons are being offered high value cycles to buy.”

Contact police on 101.