Tower Hamlets police crackdown on bike theft


A bicycle stripped for parts. (Pic: William Murphy)

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of selling stolen bicycles on Brick Lane, as part of a new operation put in place by Tower Hamlets police to crack down on the sale of stolen bikes in the area.

Twenty bikes were reported stolen on Brick Lane in the first two months of this year, and over a hundred in 2015.

Last year, seven Brick Lane traders were also arrested for allegedly selling stolen bicycles. Police believe gangs target bicycles purchased through the Cycle to Work scheme by commuters in the area. Officers have previously stated that thousands of bikes have been sold at Brick Lane market each year, many of them thought to be stolen.

Bike thefts reported to Metropolitan Police from 2008-13

Between 2014 and 2015, more than 17,000 bicycles were stolen across London, and over 1000 of these thefts were in Tower Hamlets, according to statistics released by the Metropolitan Police.

Amy Summer, spokesperson for the London Cycling Campaign, said: “Bike theft is sadly a common problem in London but there’s plenty that people can do to help prevent it.

“Firstly, people should get their bike marked and registered online to help ensure that if your bike is recovered, (…) the police can return it to you. For the best deterrent you should be using two good locks to secure your bicycle, preferably of two different kinds so that a thief can’t use the same tools on both.”

Official advice states you should spend 10% of your bike’s value on locks. More advice on protecting you bicycle can be found here.

Brick Lane bike thefts – February 2016

Data source: Metropolitan Police.


  1. Paul February 15, 2020
  2. Linda Lewis February 20, 2020

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