JUST one in 48 reported bike thefts in West Mercia resulted in a charge last year, new figures show.

A vast majority of bike thefts across the UK are going unpunished – with one charity warning thefts are putting people off cycling altogether.

New data from the Home Office shows 794 bike thefts were reported to West Mercia Police in the year to March 2023 – with just 17 (2.1%) resulting in a charge or summons to court.

In addition, no suspect was identified in 77.6% of cases, and 17.4% were dropped because of evidential difficulties.

Meanwhile, 1.4% of crimes were yet to be assigned an outcome.

Keir Gallagher, campaigns manager at the Cycling UK charity, said the "scourge" of bike theft will carry on until criminals "believe there is a genuine risk of being caught".

He said: “While we acknowledge the limitations on police resources, with more than half of stolen bikes being sold online, there is clearly scope for improved targeting of online marketplaces to identify and prosecute serial offenders and organised criminals.”


He urged local authorities, employers and businesses to invest in better bike storage.

Across England and Wales, fewer bike thefts have been reported than in recent years. In 2022-23 there were 76,900 thefts, down from 85,600 in 2019-20.

However, the charge rate has also dropped slightly, from 1.9% to 1.5%

In the year to March 2020 there were 825 thefts reported to West Mercia Police, with just 3.3% resulting in a charge.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for acquisitive crime, Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, said there is "much more that needs to be done" to tackle bike theft.

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She said: “Policing recognises how invasive and traumatic it is to be a victim of burglary and theft.

"In some cases, there may not be enough information for police to act upon or bring about criminal proceedings. For these types of offences, police focus on targeting prolific offenders, organised crime networks, and ensuring effective prevention measures are in place."

"I understand the disappointment felt by victims who do not get a quality service by the police or the outcomes they would want through the criminal justice system," she added.