RAIL commuters who park their bike at Christchurch Station are among the most targeted for cycle thefts in the country, new figures reveal.

Three bikes are stolen for every 100,000 passengers who use Christchurch's station, making it the eighth worst station in Britain for this type of crime.

In total there has been a 33 percentage increase in thefts from the station in one year with 50 bikes stolen in three years.

The British Transport Police and Office of Rail Regulation and Transport for London figures also reveal that Poole has 90 secure spaces for bikes and saw a 25 percentage increase in thefts in the three years to 2019, with 24 machines stolen.

By contrast Bournemouth station saw a 24 percentage decrease in thefts in three years. New Milton station saw a 30 percentage decrease in bike thefts with just 25 stolen over the same period.

And Brockenhurst, the cycle hub of the New Forest, which has 122 secure spaces for bikes reported a spectacular drop in bike crime, of 54 per cent, with 22 bikes stolen in three years.

The worst station for bike thefts per 100,000 passengers in Britain is Barming near Maidstone, where there are 12 bike thefts for every 100,000 people who use the station. Totton in the New Forest is slightly worse than Christchurch, with four bikes stolen per 100,000 passengers.

Across Great Britain, theft of bicycles from station property rose from 4,500 in 2016-17 to 6,400 last year, a rise of around 42 per cent with the worst train station for actual thefts being St Albans, which suffered 262 thefts in 36 months.

Senior campaigns officer for the Cycling UK charity, Sam Jones, said bike theft was "notoriously under-reported".

"Bicycle theft might seem a relatively minor offence - and unfortunately is sometimes treated as such by some police forces - but it is most definitely not," he said.

Bike theft victims and campaigners have called for more investment to curtail what they described as a "low-risk, high-reward crime".