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Two wheels gone bad: ‘Opportunist’ thief steals Catherine West’s bicycle from her Islington front garden

Catherine West, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate in Hornsey and Wood Green. Catherine West, Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate in Hornsey and Wood Green.

Monday, July 7, 2014
4:45 PM

Labour’s Catherine West, set to fight Lynne Featherstone MP for the Hornsey and Wood Green seat next year, has spoken of her frustration after an “opportunist” thief stole her bicycle from right under her nose.

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Catherine West with her Trek bicycle, which was stolen from her front garden.Catherine West with her Trek bicycle, which was stolen from her front garden.

Ms West, who had locked her workhorse up in her front garden in Harberton Road, Archway, found it had disappeared last Monday. Following the theft of her £300 Trek bicycle, she praised police for their response and said she would like to see the Boris bike scheme extended northwards so fewer people had to own their own bikes in the first place.

Tweeting after the theft, she said: “Impressed police officers rang me within 12 hours of my bike being stolen,” and thanked “local bobbies” for following up the crime. She later told the Journal she thought police “could be doing more” about bike thefts in general.

“It’s very inconvenient,” said the seasoned cyclist. “I think it’s just opportunism. On the spectrum of victims of crime I suppose it is not particularly high, but it’s very frustrating and it’s a problem in London and something that I think the police could be doing more about. I’m sure I’m not the only one this is happening to.”

She added: “It was quite an old-fashioned girls’ bike, about four years old. I’m hoping that it will turn up; I do know that they do find them.”

The former leader of Islington Council said she had made sure the bike was at least postcode-stamped, so if recovered it could be reunited with her.

“This has happened to me in the past,” she said. “I have been cycling for 20 years and I remember one time I locked it to itself but not anything else, outside a school, and found it several streets away. Another time outside Islington Town Hall my whole wheel was stolen.”

Turning to political answers, she said: “There must be a better way. It’s a good idea for the [Barclays Cycle Hire] scheme to come out further. Then I wouldn’t need to have my own bicycle at all. It will make me want to work towards better [bicycle] parking facilities as well.”

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