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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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Barrow bike thieves exploit smartphone app Strava to locate targets

CYCLISTS have been urged to check settings on phone app Strava to make sure it can’t be used by thieves who want to steal their bikes.

S96494B
HAUL: Stolen bikes recovered by police in a crackdown on thieves.

A meeting of the Barrow Community Safety Partnership at Barrow Fire Station yesterday heard that criminals are suspected to have used the internet logs created by the app to help locate where bikes are stored.

Superintendent Mark Pannone and Inspector Ian McClymont, from Cumbria Police, said Strava gives users the ability to ‘mask’ certain areas of their cycle routes, such as where they live.

They said cyclists should always check the settings on their app, which allows riders to share their routes and performances online, and could be leading thieves to the home of keen cyclists.

Supt Pannone said: “It seems criminals have been using Strava to find out where owners of good quality cycles live.
“There is some debate internally but we don’t believe there is a Mr Big taking all the bike parts in Barrow. People around here seem to ride more expensive bikes than other parts of the UK, and there have been cases of people further down the North West coming up to steal bikes. People have been arrested heading back towards Liverpool with bikes stolen from around the South Lakes.”

Cumbria police are launching a crackdown on bike thefts in Barrow and have been performing stops on cyclists and urging people to use locks.

In recent weeks, eight men were arrested and a haul of stolen bikes worth more than £8,000 were recovered.

Insp McClymont said: “It’s a shame because people will spend time researching the specifications of the bikes they want and look at all the parts, and we have people riding around on £1,500 bikes, and they can be stolen so quickly. There will always be more determined thieves with bolt croppers but if they would just spend £5 on a lock it would deter the younger thieves.

“We have been working with bike shops in the run up to Christmas to encourage them to offer locks cheaply. After Christmas we will also be encouraging people to get their bikes marked, which will make it easier to recover them.”

Supt Pannone added: “Owners will always have the responsibility to lock it or lose it.”

Efforts were made to contact Strava. But no-one was available for a comment. Anyone with any information about stolen bikes is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Have your say

Here's a quick video showing how easy it is to lock down your security settings on Strava
http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/2012/05/lock-your-gps-data-against-bicycle-thieves/

Posted by Alan on 17 December 2012 at 18:35

Mine and my mothers bikes were stolen earlier this week by some scumbags, we were lucky enough to get them back due to the thieves getting too greedy and the police were already on to them. I don't think Strava is all to blame, I have never used the app and where the bikes were stolen from you have to know they were there. there are some very sly people around who are spotting people on expensive bikes and finding where they are storing them!

Posted by Matt on 15 December 2012 at 22:43

View all 4 comments on this article

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