JUST 41 of the 1,595 bicycles stolen from Sheffield city centre in the last 10 years have ever been recovered by police, The Star can reveal.
The number of bike thefts in the city has soared in the last decade, particularly around the railway station and the universities.
The Star’s Your Right to Know Campaign can reveal 1,595 bikes were reported stolen in Sheffield city centre between 2001 and 2011.
But only 41 of the pushbikes have ever been found again.
With the average stolen bike costing just under £400, that means cyclists in Sheffield have been saddled with a bill of £638,000.
Sgt Darren Nugent, from South Yorkshire Police’s city centre safer neighbourhood team, said: “Over the last couple of years bike theft has gone up and up.
“We have caught two or three thieves who were out stealing bikes all the time, and taking those few out of the equation has definitely curbed bike theft.”
Officers also have another weapon in their armoury – the tracker bike.
The GPS-enabled bikes are locked at theft hotspots and left unguarded to tempt thieves.
If stolen, the device alerts police by text and officers use Google Earth to pinpoint its location.
David Bocking, from Pedal Ready, which offers training to leisure cyclists, said the number of cyclists in the city has gone up around 80 per cent in the last 10 years.
He said: “I think they are getting pinched because there are more bikes around. There are so many more people wanting bikes and that creates a demand.
“Those who make a living out of bike theft are now thinking of Sheffield as a place worth focusing their energies on, when they might not have done in the past.”
Sgt Nugent advised cyclists to spend at least 10 per cent of their bike’s value on a lock and said two locks were always better than one.
He also urged bikers to register their property at Immobilise – the UK national property register – adding bikes can be very difficult to recover once stolen.
The city centre SNT is using a number of initiatives to try to stop bike thieves, including plainclothes operations and high visibility patrols.
Officers are also working closely with security staff across the city centre, and closely monitoring CCTV.
Sgt Nugent added: “While no bike lock is entirely thief-proof we still recommend you secure your bike with a D-lock rather than cable locks. ”
n To have your bike security marked free call 0114 252 3054.