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Taskforce helping Cambridge cyclists recover their stolen wheels

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Two Cambridge city cyclists who had their bikes stolen had backed the new campaign urging people to register their cycles for free.

Charlene Tang’s stolen Carrera Vanquish was recovered via BikeRegister.com
Charlene Tang’s stolen Carrera Vanquish was recovered via BikeRegister.com

A new taskforce led by Camcycle, involving the police and city council and supported by the Cambridge Independent, is urging cyclists to use the free service at BikeRegister.com.

Charlene Tang and Tom Gilliam got their bikes back by doing so. Charlene had her bicycle’s D-lock cut using an angle grinder, while Tom had used a lock which wasn’t tethered to a post or other structure – though it was in a secure, gated area.

“I realised my bike was missing from the Kaleidoscope estate car park bike storage around noon on March 2,” said Charlene. “Within an hour, estate management lead Nathan Howard recommended I check out a post on the Facebook group ‘Stolen Bikes in Cambridge’ to verify whether it was mine with proof of ownership ie the frame number and Bike Register ID.”

It turned out Hannah Seaby, who had found Charlene’s much-loved Carrera Vanquish, realised it had been stolen and dumped because the Bike Register tag was still on the bike. Hannah posted a photo on the Facebook group, which resulted in Charlene being reunited with her two-wheel pride and glory that very afternoon.

“I’m now trying to be ever more vigilant, use strong locks and be more mindful of where I put the bike,” concludes Charlene.

Meanwhile, Tom – also a Kaleidoscope estate resident – had his bike stolen on February 17.

“The bike was stolen from the garage underneath the block of flats in which I live, says Tom. “It’s gated, and was locked securely to a bike rack therein. Unfortunately, said bike rack was not securely attached to the ground — it was just bolted! The thieves simply had used a spanner to undo it, and remove the entire u-shaped piece of metal.”

Charlene Tang’s locks after thieves stole her Carrera Vanquish
Charlene Tang’s locks after thieves stole her Carrera Vanquish

A few days later a friend of Tom’s saw his bike advertised on Facebook marketplace via a seller in Walthamstow – but the ad was removed later that day. It had been sold. Then Tom was “contacted via BikeRegister, by someone who had bought my bike, and had checked the frame number and realised that it was stolen after the fact, and he kindly offered to return it to me”.

Thus was Tom successfully reunited with his bicycle.

He concluded: “Bike Register was very helpful, though of course I’m indebted to the honesty of the buyer who checked the frame number and decided to contact me.”

The new taskforce advises bike owners to take photographs of their bike, register it at Bike Register and note the frame number.

One person who hasn’t been so lucky is David Riding, a Romsey resident whose Cannondale mountain bike was stolen from his home on Sunday night (May 30) – using bolt cutters.

David Riding’s Cannondale seemed to be in a secure place
David Riding’s Cannondale seemed to be in a secure place

David arrived in Cambridge last August from Glasgow for employment reasons, and owns several bikes. The thief got into his back garden “through the back of the houses during the night, and they’ve gone through a gate and taken the bike which was right in front of the kitchen window”.

The Cannondale had a cable lock on the front wheel and a wrap-around lock on the frame.

“They used wire cutters for the wrap-around lock and took it away with the cable lock still on,” said David of the night theft, which took place unheard even though three people were in the house at the time.

“It’s likely to have been someone who knows the area,” concludes David, who has now requested to join the Stolen Bikes in Cambridge Facebook page.

“Someone also told me to get the serial numbers of my bikes,” said David, “and I’m definitely going to do that now for the four bikes I still have, though I do keep the good road bike inside the house.

“I will also definitely be joining Bike Register – if more people knew about it it would be better, because it has a very good success rate of getting your bike back.”

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