On Valentine’s Day, Leighton office manager Bev Pledger cycled to The Golden Bell after work to enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day glass of wine with her husband.
But their pleasant evening was shattered when Bev discovered her bike had been stolen.
“The pub had it all on CCTV,” she said. “It looked like a couple of 12-year-old boys. My bike was locked but you could see them jumping up and down on it to break it.
“Their faces were clearly visible and you’d think the police would be able to find them. But I suppose they’re too busy to launch a search for two kids who stole a cheap bike.”
Bev says she’s not really a cycling enthusiast, she simply uses her bike to get to and from work and to go to the shops.
“It was just a cheap model with a basket on the front,” she explained. “I was very surprised when it was stolen because I thought thieves would only be interested in the higher end of the market.”
She was delighted to discover that Dorvic’s Cycles in Bridge Street were offering a 15 percent discount to victims of bike theft, provided they can produce a crime reference number.
She’s now bought a new model, complete with high security lock, but admitted: “I’m still very nervous about leaving it anywhere.”
Ashley Lewis, who took over Dorvic’s three months ago, said he was surpised by the number of people who had had their bikes stolen, particularly from the railway station.
He said: “We’re offering 15 percent off a new bike if victims can produce a crime reference number.
“If they can provide us with a description of the stolen bike, we’d be happy to use it to spot anyone trying to sell it on to us.”
But Ashley is also keen to educate riders on how to minimise the risk of having their bike stolen – particularly as the cycling season is now starting to get into full swing with the weather improving.
He said: “Some simple tips include ensuring you have a good quality security chain and lock, ensuring you thread the security chain through your bike’s chain and both wheels and that you secure your bike to a fixed structure. And, if possible, leave it in view of a CCTV camera.
“In addition you should record its serial number and take a picture of it.
“And don’t leave any eye-catching equipment on it, such as lights, milometers, water bottle and bike bags.”
Dorvic’s are offering free advice on how to lock a bike – pop in to the shop for a demonstration from one of the team.
They are also launching the newly refurbished shop over the Easter weekend with free cakes and soft drinks for the kids, a competition and e-bike demo rides.
The shop will be open from 9am every day over the holiday.
> A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said: “Bicycles can be the easiest vehicles for thieves and vandals to target. Protect yourself from becoming a victim by avoiding isolated places - leave your bike where a potential thief can be seen. Lock up removable parts, like wheels, and take light fittings with you.”
“Have your bike’s frame security-marked or engraved and take a clear colour photograph, keeping a written record of its description, including any unique features.
“At home, leave it in a secure garage or shed and keep the door locked.”