Met’s Brick Lane bike theft op leads to 12 arrests

COPS patrolling Brick Lane Market have reunited 12 people with their stolen bikes and arrested 12 people as part of an operation targeting the notorious cycle crime hotspot.

Met police officers and Tower Hamlets market inspectors have been gathering intelligence and patrolling Brick Lane and the surrounding streets on Sundays since September as well as advising cyclists on security, safety and how to protectively mark their bikes.

Officers returned 12 bikes to their owners as they had been reported stolen to the police, with a total of 12 arrests made as a direct result of the operation.

Sgt Titus Halliwell, from the Cycle Task Force, said: “I am so pleased to have been able to restore 12 bikes to their rightful owners as a result of Operation Helium, however this could have been many more.

“By reporting your bike if it is stolen, you are increasing your chances of having your bike returned to you if it is stolen.

“This operation highlights the benefits of our partnership work, not only with Tower Hamlets local police and council, but with all of the 32 London boroughs, allowing Londoners to enjoy cycling safely and free from the risk of theft or criminal damage.”

The specially-formed Cycle Task Force worked with officers from the Whitechapel Town Centre team, who have also been working with Tower Hamlets Market Inspectors to tackle illegal street trading, as well as teams viewing live footage from Tower Hamlets council’s CCTV control centre, enabling officers to track suspects through the busy market.

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During one of the Sunday operations, officers arrested a 41-year-old man who had stolen wheels from a bike locked to a rack on Bethnal Green Road.

With help from the bike’s owner and the CCTV team, officers were able to track the man and arrested him in Brick Lane.

He appeared at court charged with theft and was jailed for two weeks after pleading guilty.

Since its launch in June this year, the MPS Cycle Task Force has security marked more than 10,000 bikes and made more than 100 arrests.