Bike theft puts dampener on charity ride

The Oxford Times: Daniel Smith holds the bicycle locks that were cut by thieves Daniel Smith holds the bicycle locks that were cut by thieves

DANIEL Smith should be looking forward to a charity cycle ride of a lifetime with his partner Carly Heywood.

Instead, they are having to pay more than £1,000 to replace their mountain bikes that were stolen from outside Mr Smith’s home in Reliance Way, East Oxford. Thieves cut through the locks to steal the bikes after 9am last Friday.

And now security worker Mr Smith, 27, and nurse Miss Heywood, 24, have to buy new bikes for their ride from London to Paris next week.

The pair hoped to raise £3,000 for a new minibus for a Ghanian orphanage and will set off from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for the 250-mile ride to the Notre Dame. Miss Heywood has been a supporter of the orphanage and pledged to raise cash for the minibus.

Mr Smith, who reported the theft to the police, said: “It is very stressful. I haven’t much time and we should be training.”

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said they could not find any information about the theft.

Cyclist Doug Hale, 29, from Iffley Road said he has had two bikes stolen since last autumn – one from Iffley Lock and a second from outside the Library Pub in Cowley Road, last month.

He said he was told by an officer there had been a spate of bike thefts in the area, and added: “She said there had been 30 bike thefts in the last few weeks and 11 in the last week alone.”

Thames Valley Police were unable to confirm whether there had been a recent rise in bike thefts in Cowley. But crime figures released this week by the police show recorded thefts of bicycles from Oxford have dropped overall. Last year, 1,871 were recorded stolen in Oxford, while in 2012-13, there were 2,196 cases.

Sergeant Matthew Sulley confirmed that 155 bike thefts were reported in March.

He said: “We’ve done a lot of work with a massive drive to catch criminals. People are locking their bikes better.”

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