Edinburgh police: `Prove it's your bike'

Show proof of ownership, keep your bike

Can you prove you own your bike? If you live in Edinburgh, you'd better hope so. Police there say they will seize suspected stolen cycles from people if they can't prove ownership.

Bike theft in student areas of the Scottish capital reportedly doubles when undergraduates return from their summer holidays in October.

Now the city's police have announced a month-long crackdown to coincide with the start of the new term.

Cyclists forced to give up a bike will not get it back until they can supply receipts or similar paperwork.

Some 440,000 bikes were stolen in the UK last year, with insurers Halifax claiming a rate of one every 71 seconds.

In Worcester police recently told cyclists they would confiscate unlocked bikes to prevent them being swiped by thieves.

Sergeant Norman Towler, who is leading the Edinburgh operation, told the Edinburgh Evening News that suspected thieves would be carefully targeted: "If we suspect they have stolen the bike, we will take it until we get proof of purchase.

"We would have to have reasonable grounds to stop them and speak to them and have justifiable cause to do so."

Officers will make a decision on who to stop during the month long spot checks based on suspicious behaviour or intelligence they have been given.

Police hope the initiative will also reduce the number of bikes dumped by thieves in Edinburgh. At the moment, as many as 70 cycles are discarded each month - many of them in good working order.

The initiative will also include training for students on how to make their bike as secure as possible.

To find out how your city rates for bike theft have a look here, or read here about how locks don't always live up to expectations.

You can register your bike frame number here, which passes on the information to the UK Police National Property Database. Police use the database to trace the owners of recovered property so registering your bike means it stands a greater chance of being returned to you if it's taken.

* Three cycle shops in Edinburgh are offering a 20 percent discount on bike safety and security equipment during the police initiative. The discount vouchers can be used in Bicycle Repair Man on Newington Road, Velo Ecosse on Bruntsfield Place and The Bike Station at Causewayside.

© BikeRadar 2007

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