Stolen bikes being recycled in Mile End by police

Mile End Community Project's Nurull Islam

Mile End Community Project's Nurull Islam - Credit: Rehan Jamil

Stolen bikes are being used by police for a project in Mile End that is handing them out to people who cannot afford to buy a new one. 

The Met has donated 70 nicked bikes that have been recovered but where owners cannot be traced. 

Met commander Marcus Barnett... recycling stolen bikes in the East End

Met commander Marcus Barnett praised the project, which is recycling stolen bikes in the East End - Credit: Mike Brooke

“It’s far better the bikes are being re-used and given to the community than left rotting,” the Met’s Tower Hamlets borough commander Marcus Barnett said.

“We are donating the bikes which we have in our possession and have been unable to reunite with their owners.”  

Police roadshow in Victoria Park encouraging cyclists to get bikes security marked

Police roadshow in Victoria Park encouraging cyclists to get bikes security marked - Credit: Mike Brooke

The idea originated from the Mile End Community Project to help people who did not have the money or space for a bike — but wanted to get mobile. 

The project has set up storage arrangements and bike maintenance workshops to keep people on the move. 

Nurull Islam meets Tower Hamlets deputy mayor Rachel Blake (2nd from left) at opening of 'On Yer Bike' workshop

Nurull Islam meets Tower Hamlets deputy mayor Rachel Blake (2nd from left) at opening of 'On Yer Bike' workshop - Credit: Rehan Jamil

The project’s co-founder Nurull Islam said: “Mile End is surrounded by cycle routes and highways, but we found there were economic blocks for people.  

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“Storing bikes is also not practical in households already overcrowded where you need room to replace inner tubes and fix brakes which can all be expensive if you don’t how.” 

So he has opened Mile End's On Yer Bike workshop maintenance and repair service, working with the Met and EastendHomes housing association to get storage facilities and training on how to look after bikes.  

Servicing and repairs are done by East End Cycles, while storage is arranged by the housing organisation which also provides space for the workshops. Gracewood Group developers have installed electricity and provided their own carpenters to fit out the workshops. 

The bike recycle scheme got the thumbs up from EastendHomes managing director John Henderson, who said: “This is yet another project to improve opportunities for young people and families in Mile End.” 

The programme also plans a "bike library" for members to borrow machines who cannot store them at home, as well as training to educate on safe riding and giving qualifications in maintenance.

It also has partnerships with suppliers to make sure families are not prevented from cycling because they cannot afford bike parts. 

The project has inspected and repaired 250 bikes since May and has distributed all 70 bikes donated by the police.