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Thefts of bicycles booming during Covid lockdown

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Bicycles have become a target for thieves during lockdown

Bicycles have become a target for thieves during lockdown

Bicycles have become a target for thieves during lockdown

The number of bicycles stolen during the Covid-19 lockdown has soared across the country.

Thefts reported to gardai from March 25 to July 5 show there was a 9.3pc rise on the same time last year - 1,613 bicycles were stolen compared with 1,476 in 2019.

The North West region was the most affected compared with the same time last year, with an increase of 17.8pc, from 90 to 106.

Dublin was next, with an increase of 10.7pc over the same period, from 1015 in 2019 to 1,124 over the same three-and-a-half months this year.

The Eastern region experienced a rise of 6.3pc, from 159 to 169, while the Southern area fared best, with only two more bicycles being stolen, rising to 214 from 212.

In the UK, 60pc more bikes were bought in April during the coronavirus lockdown, the Bicycle Association said.

Affordable

In the first three months of this year, bicycle sales were down 8pc.

The biggest change was in more affordable bikes valued at €400 to €1,000, sales of which doubled in April.

Sport Ireland said a recent survey showed more than 510,000 adults are cycling at least once a week here, up by 220,000 0n the same period last year.

Many Irish bike shops are struggling to keep up with demand for new bicycles, and second hand ones have sold out in many retailers.

Gardai appealed to cyc- lists to take extra precautions in keeping their bikes safe by locking them in the most secure way possible by spending 10 to 20pc of the value of the bike on two locks.

They also advised owners to secure bikes to an immovable object, keep the lock off the ground, take a photo of your bike, note the serial number and email it to yourself so that you have a record of it.

You should also always lock bikes indoors or in well-lit areas if possible.

Gardai also said they "are aware of social media activity in respect of the theft and loss of dogs in recent times, including on our own social media channels".

"An Garda Siochana has not recorded a spike in recorded activity on the theft of dogs during the first half of 2020," a spokesperson said.

During that period, 41 incidents were recorded, compared to 38 incidents last year.

Prevention

Gardai are appealing to the public to take extra crime-prevention measures when it comes to caring for pets, particularly high-value breeds of dogs.

A number of dog thefts have been reported in recent months.

One of the main reasons they are stolen is to be sold on.

In a statement, gardai added: "Some buyers won't check a pet's background before buying a dog, which makes things a lot easier for thieves trying to make a profit.

"They are also taken for ransom. A thief can take advantage of a vulnerable owner who will offer a reward for the safe return of their dog."

The National Crime Prevention Unit advised that microchipping should be always used for dogs, and owners should be wary of strangers, vary walking patterns, take care with animal sitters and kennels, do not allow them to stay in cars and keep them safe at home.