Islington bike thefts at highest since 2011, data reveals

Bike thefts have soared in Islington. Picture: William W. Ward

Bike thefts have soared in Islington. Picture: William W. Ward - Credit: Archant

Bike thefts in Islington have soared in the pandemic to their highest since 2011.

Metropolitan Police data has revealed Islington ranks the sixth worst London borough for bike theft, with total number of incidents in a year ranging between 966 at its lowest to 1,181 at its highest from 2012 to 2019 inclusive.

However, the Met has already surpassed that peak this year and counted 1,204 incidents up to October.

READ MORE: Gone in 50 seconds: CCTV shows moment opportunistic thief steals teen’s bike in Liverpool RoadBunhill and St Mary’s wards the worst affected wards in the borough, with more than a quarter of Islington’s incidents this year in those two areas.

Gordon Abbott has had two bikes stolen in Islington in the last nine months.

On November 20, his orange Cinelli Hobootleg - retailing at £1,400 - was stolen from his block of flats near Amwell Street. His first reaction was “disbelief”.


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Gordon has used his bike “hundreds of per cent more” during the pandemic, he said, and believes bike theft is a growing problem.

“There are cut cables and cut bike locks lying by the bike stands everywhere you go,” he said.

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According to the Bicycle Association, UK bike sales grew by 63pc between April and June 2020.

Thefts in Islington decreased during lockdown in April, but began to rise again in May.

Islington ranks as the sixth worst London borough for the crime.

Following a recent police seizure of stolen bikes, Ch Supt Steve Heatley said: “With more people cycling to work during the coronavirus pandemic, it presents more opportunities for thieves and we have responded accordingly, working with our MPS colleagues and implementing specific tactics to identify and catch these criminals – and return the bikes to their owners.”

Despite reporting his stolen bikes to the police, Abbott says he is “not expecting anything”.

Within 24 hours of reporting the theft of his first bike, which witnesses saw being stolen from behind him while he picking up his child from school, the case was closed.

Bike theft, he feels, is “completely disregarded”.

He said: “People must be seen doing it, and nobody challenges anything.”

In response to rising thefts, Cycle Islington advise: “Insure your bikes, get two decent sturdy D-locks as a minimum, get the details onto a database such as www.bikeregister.com.

“If the worst happens, tell the whole cycling community via @StolenRide and your local group.”

A spokesperson from the Met Police said: “The Metropolitan Police Service takes every incident of bicycle theft seriously and recognises the distress this crime causes its victims.

“We are also aware that for many, this can be a main form of transport and can therefore greatly disrupt their everyday lives.

“When a report is received, officers will carry out every reasonable line of enquiry to recover the property and bring any suspect to justice.

“Anyone who owns a bicycle is urged to get it security marked and registered at BikeRegister – this helps officers return stolen property to its rightful owner, and it also helps to bring prosecutions.”

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