Following a series of bicycle thefts in the north coast, Constable Lamont from Portrush Neighbourhood Policing Team is asking prospective buyers to take a few reasonable steps to ensure that any second hand bicycle is not stolen.
Constable Lamont told The Coleraine Times: “Everyone loves a bargain, but if a bike is advertised too cheaply or if the seller seems too keen to ‘seal the deal’ quickly and without proper paperwork, there is usually a reason.
“If the seller is genuine, they will understand you acting with caution. After all, you could stand to lose not only your hard-earned cash, but also the bike itself if the seller is a cycle thief.
“Knowing or believing a bicycle to be stolen and deliberately shutting your eyes to bag a bargain could lead to you being arrested for handling stolen goods and taken before the courts”.
Const Lamont continued: “Police would also advice all bicycle owners to always take security precautions, always lock your bicycle and leave in a secure location.
“If anyone has any information regarding the recent thefts of bicycles in the North Coast area please contact PSNI on 101 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Const Lamont suggests the following advice when buying a second-hand bike:
1. Take a friend with you and always meet the buyer at a home or work address. Alarm bells should be ringing if the buyer suggests meeting in a public place such as a park or a train station. Never buy from anyone that approaches you on the street.
2. Is the seller bluffing or do they really know the bike’s history? Do they look like they could be the owner of the bike they are selling?
3. Examine the bike thoroughly to check its condition. Also look to see if it has been security marked. If the seller can produce an original purchase receipt and service history, that’s a good sign of a genuine sale.
4. Is the bike being advertised at market value? If not, ask yourself why?
5. Stock photos shouldn’t be used to sell a bike. The real owner would have original photos that they would be happy to show you.
6. Thieves often alter the appearance of stolen bikes. Does the bike have its original paintwork? Have there been any obvious attempts to remove the frame number or bike marking?
7. If you go ahead with the purchase, always get a receipt for the sale. A genuine seller will be happy to provide one.
8. Make sure you register and mark your new bike free on immobilise. com or BikeRegister. By doing so, it will greatly reduce the chances of having it stolen.
9. If you think you are being sold a stolen bike, don’t go through with the purchase. Report the incident to PSNI by calling 101 or in the case of an emergency 999.