'˜I lost a son myself and no family should have to have that news'
For a month Lynda Lamb watched as her stolen bike was ridden up and down main roads and estates by men without helmets or lights, and she reported everything to the police.
Then she was given the news she dreaded receiving - the bike had been involved in a collision with a minibus in Lostock Hall and the 24-year-old rider, Jared Alexander, had died.
The credit controller from Longridge Road, Preston, said: “I felt absolutely devastated, but with mixed feelings.
“I lost a son in 1992 and from a family’s point of view, nobody should have to have that news, no matter what they’ve done.
“I kept saying to the police that someone’s going to get killed and I keep thinking about all the people who must have seen the accident, especially the driver of the minibus it went into.
“It was my bike, so I feel guilty that it was involved. I can’t disconnect from it.”
The bike which Miss Lamb had treasured for six years was taken from her locked garage and hotwired in the middle of the night on November 11 - with five people caught on CCTV taking part.
The crime was reported to the police, with Miss Lamb claiming she was told Lancashire Constabulary have a policy of not pursuing stolen motorbikes due to the risk and lack of resources.
They claim this is untrue. A spokesman said: “We can do it but each case would be risk assessed.”
Miss Lamb, 55, said: “After it was stolen a few of us went looking for it and saw it being ridden as well as another stolen bike around the shops in Pope Lane, Moor Nook.
“I told the police I’d seen it and also gave them names from some local residents who’d seen them over a number of days.
“I also told them that the people I’d seen riding around without helmets matched the pictures on Facebook for the people I’d been given names for.
“I logged it all with the police and they knew about it for a month. But they did nothing proactive.
“I asked, ‘What’s it going to take for someone to stop kids stealing bikes? Someone getting killed? They are going high speeds on a power bike they are not used to.
“You know who these people are, so why aren’t you doing anything?’”
An FOI request has revealed that in Central Lancashire in the past year, there were 264 motorbike thefts, with 160 of those in Preston, 53 in South Ribble and 51 in Chorley.
Lancashire Police declined to comment on the matter, but offered basic security advice for owners including:
• Ensure your motorcycle or moped has adequate security and you have sufficient insurance to cover any loss.
• Fit an alarm with movement sensors, if possible.
• Fit a tracker which can be monitored with a smart phone app.
• A ground anchor and good quality disk locks, security shackles and chains will prevent someone easily removing your motorbike.
• Consider property marking your motorbike components with a suitable product.
• Park your bike in a locked garage or enclosed area whenever possible.
Miss Lamb said: “I can understand the frustrations of the police but it doesn’t mean they can’t so anything, it’s a big problem.
“I do intend to organise a peaceful protest to change the attitudes of the police and publically.
“To the people who live on these estates who are fed up with it, take pictures on your phone and help the police.
“Everyone needs to do more. Parents have their role to play too. They must hear what their kids are up to, and if it were me I’d take them to the police station myself.”
“I’d hate to hear that it’s happened again.
“It’s the turmoil the death creates.
“I’m very lucky that I have other means of transport, but a lot of other people don’t.
There’s also the cost of security and I know I won’t get the value of the bike off the insurance company, it was worth more to me than they will pay out.
“They’ve also invaded my property and it’s made me paranoid, not wanting to leave the house.
“And that was a bike I had for six years. It was six years of pleasure, it’s my passion, there’s a lot of emotions and that’s been tainted.”
Miss Lamb has now set up a Facebook group called ‘Stolenbikepreston’ for people to share information about their stolen bikes and to get information to give to the police.
Her friend, Councillor Keith Martin, has also put an official complaint in to Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner about the police response to this incident.
He said: “That was a 600cc sports bike, capable of over 100mph and it was seen racing up and down the streets of Ribbleton.
“The owner was worried someone was going to come to harm on it and they did.
“We need something in place to stop this happening again. There were more than 260 bikes stolen in Central Lancashire last year, 160 of them in Preston. Each one is a potential fatality.”
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said it was aware of the concerns raised but it only has the power to investigate complaints about the conduct of the Chief Constable. Operational conduct or operational issues are for the constabulary to investigate and respond to.