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More than a third of Belfast Bikes out of action due to theft or vandalism - Council reveals one bike was sawn in half

210 of the 576 bikes available have either been stolen or taken out of service due to vandalism - costing the scheme almost £1,800 per month

By Claire Williamson

More than one third of the Belfast Bikes are out of action due to theft or vandalism, the Council has said.

Belfast City Council has said the recent spate of incident is jeopardising the future of the scheme and having a sever impact on the number of bikes in circulation for users.

Currently, 210 of the 576 bikes available have either been stolen or taken out of service due to vandalism - which is costing the scheme almost £1,800 per month.

Over the Easter weekend 19 bikes were stolen, six of which were recovered and a further eight were vandalised.

Belfast City Council said some of the bikes have been stolen for personal use but that much of the damage inflicted is "simply mindless vandalism" with one case of a bike being sawn in half.

In partnership with the PSNI the Council is appealing for the public to report theft and vandalism and to be sure that bikes are properly locked.

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston said: “Along with our partners, the Department for Infrastructure, we made a conscious decision to invest in a scheme for the benefit of the people of Belfast.

“Belfast Bikes has enjoyed a hugely successful start-up period, and the popularity of the scheme clearly shows that we were right to back the initiative.

“It also goes hand in hand with ongoing and planned future investments in the city’s cycling infrastructure, helping us to reduce vehicular traffic, boost the health of our people and add to the friendly relaxed European atmosphere in the city.

“But we have to address the problem of antisocial behaviour and put measures in place to safeguard the scheme.”

"Many bikes are stolen because they are not properly locked when returned to a docking station.  If you’re a scheme user, a quick pull of the bike to make sure it’s properly locked, will also help to keep the bikes as safe as possible. 

"The PSNI revealed in January that there is an increasing issue of bike theft in general, claiming that bicycle theft is "almost like the new car theft".

Sergeant Pete Cunningham said: “We would appeal to anyone who witnesses any instances of theft or vandalism to the bikes to report this to police immediately so that we can address the issue and deal with those who are responsible.  Please contact the PSNI by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

" Or, if you would prefer to provide information without giving your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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