READING has been named a bike theft hotspot.

New research by MoneySuperMarket reveals Reading as one the UK’s top hotspots for bicycle theft, with 5.2 thefts reported per 1,000 people in 2020, the third highest in the country.

MoneySuperMarket analysed bike theft data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and found that the rate of reported thefts per 1,000 people was highest in Cambridge in 2020 at 18.4. Oxford and Reading take second and third place, reporting 8.0 and 5.2 stolen bikes per 1,000 people respectively.

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At the other end of the scale, Tunbridge Wells (0.2), Caerphilly (0.2) and Dudley (0.3) have the lowest rates of bicycle theft, making them the safest places to own a bike.

Overall, the data shows that 72,640 bikes were reported stolen in 2020, which amounts to 199 bicycle thefts per day on average. This figure is down 15% compared to 2019, where 85,285 bikes were reported as stolen.

Kate Devine, home insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Cycling has become popular over the past year and with the country easing out of lockdown and people set to travel once again, it’s even more important to make sure bikes are covered for theft and damage.

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“Whilst the data shows that some areas are safer than others, there are many things we can do to deter bicycle thieves. Our top suggestions are:

· Invest in a good quality lock

· Lock your bike securely, including the wheels

· Avoid locking your bike in an isolated area

· Using two different types of locks can act as a strong deterrent

· Register and insure your bike

“To avoid paying more than necessary if your bike were to be stolen, it’s always a good idea to insure it – either by including it in your home insurance policy or by taking out specialist bike insurance. It doesn’t take long, provides peace of mind, and using a comparison site can get you a good deal.”