BIKE owners are being encouraged to step up their security after an increase in cycle thefts.
Between June 1 and July 22 there were 219 bike thefts in the Portsmouth area, according to Hampshire Constabulary.
The force said that reports of theft in the eastern area, which covers Portsmouth, Havant, Fareham and Gosport, between June 1, and August 21, are up by 36 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.
This has prompted officers to flood hot spot areas such as Commercial Road and Arundel Street in Portsmouth city centre with crime prevention advice.
Shed and garage burglaries are also on the up with the Baffins area of Portsmouth being particularly affected.
The advice is to ensure you keep your bikes locked up securely.
Temporary Inspector James Noble, who is co-ordinating the operation, said: ‘We are identifying hot spots where the reports seem to be concentrated but this advice is important to everyone. In the majority of cases poor security makes it too easy for thieves.
‘We are doing our best to provide a visible presence in hot spots and identify those involved in this type of crime but really need residents on board too.
‘Items stored in sheds, such as bikes and tools can often be of significant value, so please follow our advice to protect your property.
‘It’s also important to call us if your property is stolen or an attempt is made, even if you notice suspicious activity. This information will help target our activity and identify who is responsible.
‘We have seen a steep rise in this type of crime in Portsmouth, but we will also be looking at the Isle of Wight, Havant, Waterlooville, Fareham and Gosport areas and will focus our efforts in these places if necessary.’
Officers will be visiting areas where crimes happen to give crime prevention advice as well as using social media to target residents.
As reported, police have recovered more than 80 bikes that may have been stolen from the Portsmouth area.
The News is working with Hampshire Constabulary to show pictures of the bikes suspected to be stolen – see portsmouth.co.uk.