60 Bicycles a Day Stolen in the Midlands; BIKE THEFT CAPITAL OF BRITAIN

Article excerpt

Byline: BY BOB HAYWOOD

A MIDLAND city has been named as the super-bikes theft capital of Britain.

More than 60 cycles a day are being stolen across the region - because they have become so expensive.

Bikes, once modestly priced, can now cost up to pounds 6,000 - making them prime target for thieves.

Official new figures show that Gloucester is the country's expensive-cycles theft hotspot, with the average value of bikes stolen in the city being pounds 544.

In second place is Kingston-upon-Thames, London (pounds 385) and third Bristol (pounds 323).

Home Office statistics reveal that 113,206 bike thefts were recorded in England and Wales last year, a rise of seven per cent on the previous year - and 15,000 more than in 2002.

The reason for the upsurge is the soaring price of must-have bicycles, the most popular being Raleigh, Dawes, Trek and Giant, costing several hundred pounds each.

But top-end racing machines can cost as much as a good second-hand car, with the Trek Madone 5.9 SSLX selling at pounds 6,000 and the Look 595 Ultra at pounds 4,500.

The stolen bikes are sold at car boot sales and on internet auction sites. …