THEFTS of bicycles in Reading have doubled over the past five years according to police figures.

Last year 1,055 bicycle thefts were recorded in Reading by Thames Valley Police, an increase from 544 in 2013.

Reading Chronicle:

Adrian Lawson, chair of the Reading Cycle Campaign, said: “That’s a lot of bikes, and a lot of transport for a lot of people.

“The police are completely uninterested. They’re massively under resourced and nothing is being done.”

Mr Lawson said inadequate parking was also a problem, causing cyclists to leave their bikes in vulnerable places.

He said: “Nobody is thinking about providing the sort of facilities where people could leave their bikes securely.”

The real number of thefts could be much higher than reported, as research from UCL claimed that police are only informed of one theft for every five bikes stolen.

Richard Jerrett, 44, from Goring, had two bikes stolen last February—one in Oxford and one in Reading.

The bike in Reading was a folding Brompton, worth £1,100 new, and had been locked up on Broad Street, outside Thorntons chocolate shop.

Police returned the second bike that was stolen in Oxford to him. Mr Jerrett said: “I was extremely surprised.”

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s lead for transport, said: “These statistics are obviously disappointing.”

He said the council will look at the data to try to find trends. He also said Great Western Railway has recently confirmed it will fund improving bike security at Reading Station, including CCTV cameras.

The council will work on the project north of the station with Thames Valley Police and the British Transport Police, and should be finished by the end of the year.

Cllr Page said: “Improvements to cycle facilities, including parking facilities, is a key focus of our transport strategy in order to create realistic alternatives to the private car.

“Residents, businesses and organisations will have the opportunity to tell us their priorities as part of the consultation on the new local transport plan later this year.”

Have you had your bike stolen? Let us know in the comments if you ever got it back?