Anyone who has ever had a bicycle stolen will know the feeling in the pit of the stomach when you return to where you left your bike and find it has disappeared. More people cycling in Bristol means more bikes on the street, which sadly – inevitably – means more bikes being stolen.
Even with thefts on the rise, the real number of bikes stolen in Bristol is far higher with many people not reporting the crime to the police.
I was an inadvertent witness to bicycles being (allegedly) stolen this afternoon as I came back to unlock my own bike at about 2.30pm, which I had locked to one of the Sheffield stands in the pathway between Cabot Circus and the Castlemead Tower.
Suddenly, there was a large commotion as two burly security guards in hi-vis jackets tackled a man to the ground as it looked like he was unlocking his bicycle.
When more security guards arrived accompanied by plain clothes and uniformed officers, two other young men were held as their accomplice remained pinned to the ground.
They might have been detained for any crime, but then I saw the huge pair of bolt cutters in the hands of one of the uniformed policemen, as long as a man’s arm.
It was great teamwork between Cabot Circus security and the police, with what looked like the use of police spotters in the near vicinity and someone also presumably watching on CCTV from an anonymous control centre.
But will this deter more would-be robbers in the future? The (alleged) thieves that I saw being arrested today were certainly not opportunistic, having (allegedly) come prepared with the large bolt cutters. They were also clearly working as a team.
So despite the proactive targeting of these (definite) miscreants, more bikes will continue to be stolen across Bristol.
If you haven’t already got the best lock that you can afford for your two-wheeled pride and joy, visit a bike shop today.