AN ALARMING 1,581 bicycles were stolen in Dorset last year.

According to police figures 818 in Bournemouth, 403 in Poole, 81 in Christchurch and 279 in other parts of the county were taken by thieves in 2013.

In the first six months of this year 589 cycles were snatched. The annual total represents more than four a day and the police and council are urging cyclists to think about how they secure their bikes – with police claiming 90 per cent of thefts occur due to the use of inadequate locks.

Armed with a pair of bolt cutters, Cllr David Smith demonstrated how quick and easy it can be to steal a bike that appears to be secure during a demonstration at Bournemouth Square last week.

“It is very important to use the right lock,” he added.

“Anything other than a D-lock is a waste of time because they can easily cut through them in two seconds with a pair of bolt cutters.”

The council is clipping notices to bikes in the town urging them to use D-locks and the campaign follows its bike tagging initiative – which involves applying a permanent unique number to a bike stored on a database so it can be traced later.

Sgt Dave Moore, of Bournemouth Police, is also backing the council’s efforts and said he hopes the message about tagging serves to deter potential criminals.

“It is about making your bike as unattractive to thieves as possible,” he said.

“Around 20 bikes a month are taken from central Bournemouth – and that is 20 too many.”

Inspector Heather Dixey, of Bournemouth police, said more than half of all bicycle thefts take place from an owner’s property and simple prevention methods can be used to deter thieves.
She suggests keeping the bike in a secure garage or shed with the door locked, keeping it out of public view or securing it to an immovable object.
She said: “When out and about on your bike, remember to secure it with a lock to a secure fixing by putting the lock through the frame of the bike – D locks are a very effective way to secure your bike. If dark, avoid leaving it in dimly lit locations.”