A PAIR of suspected bicycle thieves have been snared by police in a carefully planned sting operation.
Northumbria Police’s Operation Benelli team caught two men red-handed after planting a bicycle in Newcastle city centre.
The operation to arrest the thieves was launched in response to a spike in thefts of bicycles in the area of Falconer Street near to Shieldfield.
Officers decided to plant the bicycle and watch on to see if anyone attempted to steal it.
After just two deployments of a decoy bicycle, two suspected thieves were apprehended.
A 33-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday, November 3, before a 35-year-old man was also detained on Friday after using bolt cutters to steal the bicycle.
Sergeant Fran Joyce, of the Operation Benelli team, has now released footage of the successful sting operations and warned thieves they will be caught.
He said: “We have seen an increase in bicycle thefts during lockdown as more and more people take to two wheels.
“We have increased our patrols in areas that have seen a spike in incidents, particularly near to the RVI in Newcastle city centre.
“The return of students has seen a second spike in thefts and so we have decided to run another sting operation.
“A similar initiative led to the arrest of nine thieves over the summer and in just a week we have already taken a further two suspects in to custody.
“This should send a strong message to opportunistic thieves – we are watching you, we will arrest you and we will put you before a court.”
Sgt Joyce added: “We also need the continued support of the public and if you see anyone acting in a suspicious manner in your street, call us or report it online.
“If you own a bicycle then please consider using a D-lock to secure your bicycle and deter any opportunistic thieves.”
The two men arrested have both been charged with theft and are on bail to appear before a court at a later date.
Anyone who wants to report suspicious behaviour to police can do so online at the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101.