A NELSON based firm is supporting bicycle owners with advice on how to thwart potential thieves.

Pendle Bike Racks says that lockdown has had a positive influence on reducing bike thefts across the region, but with restrictions set to ease in coming months this could be set to change.

Owner of the Nelson-based firm Chris Smith now hopes that he can provide the expertise bicycle owners will need in the coming months.

He said: “Whilst the thought of getting back out on the roads and enjoying cycling further afield is a great prospect for cyclists, we must be aware that thieves will also be rubbing their hands together and looking for opportunities to steal bikes.

“Deterrents are key to keeping valuable property safe, so we’re spreading the message that storage and security has to be a priority as we come out of lockdown."

According to police figures, during the first lockdown in spring 2020, Lancashire’s reported bicycle thefts fell from 107 in April to 74 a year later.

However, the relaxation of lockdown restrictions last year led to an increase in bike crime, with September recording a near 10 per cent year-on-year rise in reported thefts.

Mr Smith said: “Commuting to work by bike is also likely to be more popular, as many people have been using their exercise freedoms during lockdown to cycle from A to B and have caught the pedal power bug. As such, we are encouraging employers to take a responsible stance and provide bike racks that give safe storage during working hours for employees to use.

“When it comes to bike storage at home, thieves are becoming more innovative in their techniques and are even resorting to monitoring social media to find out what bike you have and how they can lay their hands on it, so definitely lockdown your privacy settings and don’t think of posting news of your routes or holiday plans.”

He added: “The Lancashire Police ‘Lock it or Lose it’ guidelines are very useful as a reference and cover many aspects of bike security.”

Lancashire Police’s ‘Lock it or Lose it’ Campaign advises cyclists to:

• Never leave their bike unlocked

• Lock their bike through the frame and the wheels and where possible always to a secure bike rack

• Use a good quality lock, such as a solid steel D-shaped shackle lock

• If they have quick release wheels, take off the front wheel and lock it to the frame and back wheel

• Consider getting bikes security marked so that police can check who it belongs to and return it to them if it has been stolen

• Think about taking out insurance cover for their bike

• Register their bike for free at www.bikeregister.com – the only police approved cycle database.

For advice on the latest security, transport and storage products for bikes at home or in the workplace, visit www.pbr.co.uk.