Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The cycle thieves are still winning

A shopper pleaded not guilty at my local magistrates court to stealing beer valued at £13 from Tesco. He was sent for trial, which the Guardian newspaper believes will cost the State 'well over' £1,000.
A heroin addict admits that he stole a packet of condoms from Poundland and
is fined £40 with a 'victim surcharge' of £15. But he's penniless.
Oh. Well, £5 a week will be deducted from his jobseekers' allowance.
A woman steals an electric toothbrush from Boots and is sent to prison for four months.
Paul, your vexed correspondent here, had his cycle worth several hundred pounds stolen recently from a very busy cycle parking area in central Kingston.
I visited the nearby police station to report it, but no officer was available. I must report it online, which I did.
More than a day later, the police website replied that there's nothing they can do – no CCTV operates in that very busy area.

No help from the council

Cycle-promoting Kingston Council can't help either, their bike promotion department tells me.
That sums up the help available to private person me. Nada. How would Boots have reacted, or Poundland, had the police dismissed the very minor thefts with 'Tough' and a shrug?
The BBC tells today of cycling promotion in Bologna, where cyclists qualify for beer and other goodies from a variety of shops in return for pedalling rather than taking public transport.
And what have the Bolognans in place to hinder would-be cycle thieves? Niente.
It's ironic that the film, Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio De Sica in 1948 became a classic film, and is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Italian neorealism.

A turnaround

However, over in Canada, The Guardian reports 'a remarkable turnaround has taken place on Granville Island, which was at the time the worst spot in Canada's worst city for bike theft.
'Since then, bike thefts have declined by more than 70%, an incredible improvement in a problem that is pervasive in nearly every major city in the world … offering hope that something can be done to combat a phenomenon that stymies the growth of bike culture.'
Meanwhile, for other cyclists who has suffered from louts with bolt-cutters, here's a brief video of one of them getting his just desserts …. Continues on the blogs for my ocean-travel adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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