BIKE thieves have been warned their lives will be made “extremely difficult” as police launch a new crackdown in Bournemouth.

Operation Spoke, a joint initiative between Dorset Police and Bournemouth Borough Council, is urging cyclists to secure their bikes properly to make it more difficult for thieves.

The operation was launched at Castlepoint on Saturday with police and council representatives on hand to advise shoppers how to secure their bikes with the correct locks as well as advising how to ‘tag’ them correctly.

Sergeant Steve Houston said over the last couple of years in Bournemouth there had been more than 1,000 bikes stolen each year.

“We have got a range of measures that are being taken by the police and council to reduce bike crime,” he told the Daily Echo.

“One of the most important parts is bike tagging and marking which means that bikes can be given a unique reference number and if it gets stolen and someone is stopped, we can tell who the true owner is.”

One of the key messages the team want to get across to bike owners is to use an appropriate lock – a D-lock if you are leaving it parked on an unseen road or a cable lock in a public place.

The police recommend spending about 10 per cent of the cost of the bike on securing it.

“Ten or 20 years ago thieves were targeting car radios and other devices – now they’re looking for the next easiest thing – and expensive cycles are an easy target sometimes,” Sergeant Houston said.

“We need cyclists to work with us on this.”

Safer Neighbourhood Partnerships will be offering bike tagging and other advice at a number of events, including one today at Pelhams Park Leisure Centre from 4pm-6pm.

It is hoped the project, which also concentrates on use of lights and ensuring all cyclists obey the Highway Code, will be rolled out to other areas soon.

“It is a tiny minority of cyclists which don’t always abide by the code – but we will be cracking down on them,” he added.

Go to for more bike tagging events.