Mildenhall club chairman warns cycle thieves becoming organised

Chairman of Mildenhall cycle club has had 4 bikes stolen from his property.Photo: Sonya Duncan

Chairman of Mildenhall cycle club has had 4 bikes stolen from his property.Photo: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan- Archant

A cycling club chairman has warned that cycle thieves have become organised after the theft of nearly £40,000 of bikes from homes and events in recent weeks.

Mark Burchett, chairman of Mildenhall Cycling Club, says the club’s annual rally held last weekend was blighted by thieves after six professional quality bikes were stolen.

That was just days after four of Mr Burchett’s own bicycles, worth around £7,000, were stolen from his home in Barnham last Friday.

And on July 21, another member of the club, Nigel Wallace, had three bikes stolen from his locked garage in Lark Road, Mildenhall.

Mr Burchett said thieves were gaining knowledge of the bike market and targeting homes with expensive models.

“I don’t think this is being done by ‘Jack the Lad’ chancers - this is organised crime.

“We live out in the middle of nowhere and there’s no way you would stumble across our house by accident. These people knew exactly what they were looking for,” he said.

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Mr Burchett said the bikes - three made by Merida and a Scott CX - belonged to his wife and step-sons, while his bikes were left by the thieves, despite being in the same locked garage.

One of the bikes had only been taken out by his wife, Mandy, three times, having been bought two weeks ago.

The six bikes taken from the weekend’s cycling rally included models worth up to £5,000.

Thieves targeted the bikes despite them being locked to car roof racks and with the victims sleeping in tents next to the vehicles.

Mr Burchett said the aim now was to raise awareness of the thefts among bike owners.

“The impact of the Olympics, the Tour de France and the cycling programmes that have been put in place to encourage people mean that more and more people are taking up the sport.

“It does mean that these kinds of thefts are coming to fruition though. People can afford to go out and buy these machines but they are probably easier to steal than cars,” he said.

Inspector Matt Rose, policing commander for Forest Heath, said owners needed to be vigilant.

“We would advise owners of high value bicycles to ensure that they take additional measures to protect their bikes.

“The thefts from Mildenhall rally were particularly unfortunate, as it is a fantastic and well run event and we had members of the Mildenhall Safer Neighbourhood Team present on site Friday, Saturday and Sunday and officers issued numerous cycle marking kits and security advice leaflets,” he said.