An operation to combat bike thefts in Worthing has resulted in multiple arrests and recoveries.
Officers carried out high visibility and plain-clothed patrols at known ‘hot spots’ around town on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 August.
This targeted activity was in addition to regular patrols carried out by Worthing’s Neighbourhood Policing Team throughout the year.
It comes after 91 thefts or attempted thefts of bicycles were recorded in Worthing between 15 June and 23 August from areas including Splash Point, Montague Street, Marine Parade and Worthing railway station.
The estimated total value of bike thefts during this period, based on information provided by informants, is £28,000.
PC Rob Luff, of Worthing Neighbourhood Policiing Team, said: “Police and PCSOs carry out regular patrols of the town throughout the year in order to prevent and detect offences. However, from the intelligence we have gathered, it is clear that thieves continue to operate in these areas, where cyclists should be able to feel their bikes are secure.
“These opportunist criminals also use brazen tactics such as bolt croppers and in some cases angle grinders in order to break locks, often stealing bikes in a matter of seconds.
“Our key message to cyclists is to register your bike, which increases our chances of being able to return it to you in the event it is stolen and recovered.”
You can find more about this service online here: https://www.bikeregister.com/
In 63 of the 91 recorded incidents, there has been no description of any suspects provided or no further lines of enquiry.
PC Luff added: “This makes it extremely difficult for us to investigate, and is further cause for cyclists to register their bikes online.
“Thankfully, we have been able to return at least eight bikes to their rightful owners during this period, and recovered numerous more cycles.
“We have also made at least four arrests and identified several more suspects for offences over the past few weeks, and these matters remain under investigation.”
Of particular note, officers were on patrol in the vicinity of Homefield Park on Tuesday 30 August when they spotted a man on a bike carry out a hand-to-hand exchange with others.
He made off on foot and was detained, and a search revealed he was in possession of approximately 75 wraps of heroin, 63 wraps of crack cocaine, around £90 in cash and two mobile phones.
The 16-year-old from Worthing was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, money laundering and possession of an offensive weapon. He has been released on conditional bail, pending further enquiries.
If you believe your bike has been stolen, you can call 101 or visit Worthing Police Station, where we can search on our systems. You will need proof of purchase or a unique identification number.
For further advice on how to protect your bike from theft, see our website here.