Keep your bike locked up in lockdown: Police seeing rise in joyriding during coronavirus epidemic

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"Regularly check on your security and upgrade if necessary," is the message from police across the UK as forces see a rise in joy riding during lockdown.

"This increase in motorcycle and scooter theft is not unexpected with the good weather," said crime expert and Met consultant Dr Ken German. "Police reports from all around the UK show an increase in machines of all types being taken, by the young in particular.

"These bikes are not necessarily taken to sell but to use, quite often off-road. According to several arrests made, these machines were easy to steal, offering little or no security at all.

"Many bikes will be dumped after use or when they run out of fuel. Sadly, some will be burned and others will languish in a police garage unable to be returned either due to erased frame numbers or because they are unregistered."

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Police in Merseyside have been working to tackle antisocial off-road riders whose disregard to public safety resulted in a pedestrian on a walking trail being struck. A 16-year-old was arrested on suspicion of unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle and several bikes were seized as a result.

Meanwhile in Kent, civilian volunteer motorcycle recovery group Biker Biker are expecting a surge in bike theft numbers as owners emerge from lockdown.

"Once this lockdown is over those numbers will be doubled - if they’re all on lockdown and self-isolating, a lot of bikers aren’t getting out to check their bikes regularly," they said.

However, there’s better news regarding organised and professional theft, as Dr German explains: "Motorcycle thieves still operate but to a much lesser degree than a month or two ago and appear to be using vans or other large vehicles during the curfew period. Owners who have parked their bikes during the lockdown clearly need to be as vigilant as possible."

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Staff Writer, hick for life, two cylinders max