Following a week of action by the Met’s Op Venice team with support from Transport for London (TfL) and Lime, the private bike hire company, 48 stolen hire cycles totalling nearly £48,000 and five lost or stolen mopeds have been recovered.
Three people were also arrested:
[A] A 46-year old man was arrested for robbery. He has since been charged and remanded.
[B] A 45–year-old man was arrested for handling stolen goods and theft of a cycle. He has also been charged for both offences and bailed to appear at court at a later date.
[C] A 19-year-old male was arrested for handling stolen goods and possession of cannabis. He received a Young Offenders Team referral for the possession of cannabis. He received no further action for handling stolen goods.
The operation started on Monday, 1 and concluded on Friday, 5 June.
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun White, the Met’s lead for Operation Venice said: “In the space of five working days, the Met, TfL and Lime have been able to recover almost £48,000 of stolen private hire bikes that can now be returned to the appropriate businesses.
Eleven warnings were issued to people in possession of stolen TfL cycle hire bikes.
Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing and On-street Services at TfL, said: “Given the role of cycling in London’s safe and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, bike theft is an especially worrying crime today. We continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police Service to tackle bike theft and will do all we can to help ensure the risk of crime doesn’t deter people from cycling.
“We’d like to remind the public that we’re using GPS-tracking on our Santander Cycles scheme and stolen bikes will be retrieved. We hope that these arrests send a strong message to offenders that theft won’t be tolerated.”
Comparing last week’s operation (01 – 05 June) with the week before (25 – 29 May) there has been a 43 per cent reduction in push-bike enabled offences in Camden and Islington (a reduction from 32 bike enabled offences down to 18 offences)
DCI Shaun White, added “Whilst it’s extremely encouraging to see a 43 per cent reduction in pushbike enabled crime comparing week on week, I’m cautious that these numbers are not entirely representative due to the current COVID restrictions and also the difference in weather over the two weeks we are comparing.”
Bike owners are encouraged to visit the Met’s website for crime prevention advice, which includes tips such as using a secure D-lock and registering their bike at bikeregister.com – officers check this database to identify any stolen bikes with their rightful owner.