BIKES thieves are using the Gosport Ferry to target potential victims, say police.
The crooks use the journey to spot a bike, before following the owner home.
Then they go round later to steal the cycle.
Sergeant Lesley Meenaghan, of Gosport police, said: ‘What they’re tending to do is hang around at the Ferry Gardens or actually go on the ferry.
‘What we believe they’re doing is following people with expensive bikes home.
‘It’s something that has been admitted by at least one or two of our thieves.’
Nathan Frost was on his way home when two men were talking about his bike.
Less than an hour later the 25-year-old saw the same men in his local pub for the first time.
It marked the start of several attempts to break into his shed and steal the bike.
Speaking to The News, Nathan, of St Valerie Road, in Alverstoke, said: ‘Two lads from either end of the ferry walked into the middle.
‘One of them looked at my bike and said to the other “that’s a nice bike”.
‘Later me and a friend went over to the local pub and saw the same two lads in there.
‘But I didn’t twig or put it together until this happened.’
He added the incident on the ferry happened more than two months ago but shortly afterwards there was a foiled attempt to steal his bike.
He added: ‘We had someone jump into the back garden and I caught them looking through the shed window.
‘I banged on the window and scared them off.’
Mr Frost’s Voodoo Canzo 17in frame bike was stolen overnight from his shed on October 11 to October 12.
The thief broke the padlock on the shed door and used Nathan’s wife’s bike quick-release to disconnect the two.
Sgt Meenaghan added that thieves are able to break cheap D-Locks.
She said: ‘It’s quite common now for the D-Locks to be bolt cropped and that cyclists should buy the most expensive locks they could afford.
‘The advice we’re saying now is to use the ones with metal cable. We see more and more bikes locked up with a D-Lock and the D-Lock has been bolt-cropped off.’
Keith Edwards, general manager of Gosport Ferry, said the firm would be happy to assist the police.