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Video: Police officer in fancy dress able to steal bike while passers-by ignore it

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

  • Passers-by look on as a bike is 'stolen'. See the full video below

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A police officer who went undercover as a thief was able to steal four bicycles in broad daylight without any passers-by calling 999.

PCSO Neil Spiring even wore a fancy dress costume to carry out one of the thefts in a busy street, but still his 'crime' went unnoticed.

Avon and Somerset Police, which carried out the test as part of its Operation Relentless drive, said more than 50 people saw the thefts but none dialled 999.

PCSO Spiring used bolt croppers and brute force to steal the bikes as members of the public walked past, and police have released CCTV video footage of the tests to show the astonishing results.

Inspector Keith Rundle said: "We're not suggesting that anyone become a 'have-a-go hero' but we're asking people to call 999 and report bike theft as soon as they see it happening so we can catch the bike thieves in the act.

"We are constantly on the lookout for bike thieves but we also need the community to be vigilant and to call us if they see a crime happening.

"If you see anything suspicious, call 999 and let us know. The faster you let us know the more likely we are to be able to catch the thief."

Watch the video footage from Avon and Somerset Police below...


1) Invest in a good lock - it might seem expensive but it could save you hundreds in the long run in replacing stolen parts or even an entire bike.

2) Always use two different lock types.

3) Ensure that all parts of the bike that can be removed are taken with you or locked to the frame.

4) Where possible, lock to an official stand that is firmly in the ground.

5) Be security savvy - Bike thieves know their locks (and how to break them) so should you.

6) Consider electronic tagging.

7) Register your bike and all your property at www.immobilise.com.

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  • Charlespk  |  November 09 2012, 4:18PM

    Exactly right, except I not sure it's just 'richer'. I think it's more about general standards and upbringing now. When you left your bike outside the station to go somewhere then returned home by a different mode, your bike would always be there next day. . We had desks at school that just lifted and we left all our worldly possessions in them, but things were never stolen. . 'The keys under the mat' and all that. Why don't people believe us when we keep telling them?

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  • siarad2  |  November 09 2012, 3:47PM

    @Charlespk Yes the richer people are the more grabbingly selfish beome they. In the 1950/60s I used to park my motorbike, as did everyone & leave all the 'gear' on it knowing all would be there on return.

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  • Charlespk  |  November 09 2012, 1:34PM

    That's "well over 20 years ago"

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  • Charlespk  |  November 09 2012, 1:32PM

    We have a society now where thieving is seen as normal behaviour, even the 'right of passage' of growing up by many who still consider themselves to be 'respectable'. I remember them all just scoffing, well over years ago at meeting with police and councillors about shoplifting and bicycle theft, when I said that's why they had to start hanging horse thieves to stop it. (I did say I wasn't advocating hanging bicycle thieves), but if you don't have adequate deterrents, what else do you expect. We now live in a "lock everything up" society, and they still have the cheek to tell us crime is going down! . The only thing they get exorcised about now, is 'wildlife crime' which is mostly committed because of misguided protection of certain species.

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  • siarad2  |  November 09 2012, 11:50AM

    What! dial 999 & have to wait around for hours to make a statement. The times I've dialled 999 in the middle of the night to report crimes in action I've been woken up hours later to give a statement. If they're not going to turn up in time to prevent crimes they should turn up during the day, NOT waking people simply for statements.

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