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3 August 2010, 00:00 | Updated: 3 August 2010, 11:53
British Transport Police (BTP) investigators have released CCTV stills of a man they want to identify and question in following the theft of cycles from rail stations in Sussex and Surrey.
Officers are appealing for any members of the public with information about the incidents at Three Bridges in Sussex and Ashtead in Surrey to come forward.
PC Paul Gardner, the investigating officer, said the first theft took place at Three Bridges on Saturday, 3 July:
“The victim, a 45-year-old man from Crawley, left his £200 bike locked and secured in one of the cycle shelters but when he returned later on he discovered that it had been stolen.
“The second theft took place at Ashtead in Surrey on Saturday, 24 July, where the victim, an 18-year-old woman from Ashtead, left her cycle at the station, only to return later and discover that her £350 cycle had been taken.”
Investigators are conducting local enquiries into the two incidents and, after having viewed CCTV of both incidents, would like to identify and talk to the man pictured in the CCTV images in connection with the incident.
PC Gardner added: “These offences caused enormous inconvenience and real upset to the victims, who were not only hit financially by the thefts, but were forced to make alternative arrangements for travelling to and from their homes until replacement cycles could be purchased.
“The quality of the CCTV stills is excellent and I am sure that someone will recognise this man. If you think you might know who he is then we want to hear from you.”
Anyone with information about the thefts, or who recognises the man pictured in the CCTV images, should contact BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference B7 LSA of 2/8/10.
A BTP spokesman added: “We will continue to work closely with train operating companies and Network Rail to proactively tackle cycle crime.
“BTP officers regularly conduct cycle crime awareness surgeries across southern England to offer passengers crime prevention advice – with the latest surgeries having been held at Three Bridges in April and Ashtead in June.
As part of these initiatives, our crime reduction officers give out practical information leaflets on cycle security. They also fit coded cycle labels that are numbered and linked to a national database, which allow us to reunite stolen bikes with their owners when recovered.
“In addition we identify the top locations for bike theft each fortnight, targeting them through covert and overt policing operations to catch would-be offenders in the act.
“We would also ask members of the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity near cycle racks to rail staff or police.”
Bicycles are a popular target for thieves. Here are some simple tips to ensure your cycle remains secure:
* Always lock your bicycle whenever you leave it at a designated cycle rack area. Lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle stand.
* Consider using more than one lock to secure your bike and ensure that you use a recognised security standard lock. D-locks, extension cable or heavy chain locks are certified locking mechanisms. It is important to ensure that yours are up to date.
* Get a free, coded cycle label for your bicycle at the roadshows or by emailing email@example.com.
* Make the lock(s) and bike hard to manoeuvre when parked by ensuring little room between the stand and the bike.
* Do not allow your lock(s) to come into contact with the ground, where they are viewed as more vulnerable.
* Take a photograph of your bike and record your frame number and key details. This will be crucial in recovering your bike if it is stolen.
* Mark your frame with your postcode in two separate locations, one of which should be hidden. Attach a coded cycle label to reduce the risk of making your bike a target for theft.
* Register your bicycle at www.immobilise.com.