A MAN has been jailed and another received a supervision order after being caught by police riding stolen bicycles in Southampton.

Michael Purkiss and Stuart Poole were stopped on Tunstall Road, Thornhill, last September riding bikes that were identified as stolen from a nearby communal cycle storage facility.

The bikes were seized by officers and another bike reported as stolen was recovered from Purkiss' back garden during a search of his home.

A search warrant was issued at Poole's flat and a bike being repaired as found in his kitchen.

It was identified as having been stolen from St Denys train station.

Purkiss, 50, of Tunstall Road, Southampton, and Poole, 52, of Hinkler Road, both pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods at Southampton Magistrates' Court.

Poole received a 12-month supervision order and Purkiss was sentenced to prison for 24 weeks.

All of the recovered bikes were returned to their owners by police.

Investigating officer PC Ian Swan, from Bitterne police station, said: “We receive a number of stolen bike reports every single day. Many of them, including the ones identified in this case, are locked and chained up at the time of their theft. As a cyclist I know how upsetting it can be if a bike is taken..

“We do recover a large number of stolen and lost bikes, many of which are not returned to their owners, because they are not reported as lost or stolen. Those that are recorded and reported properly stand a much better chance of being returned to their rightful owner.”

Crime prevention advice for cyclists

 Hampshire Constabulary has the following crime prevention advice for cyclists: • If your bike is left unattended for any amount of time please use the correct level of security, using a reputable D lock, and if possible combine it with a wire cable.

• Lock the bike to something else if possible, and in an area that only you have access to in a communal building. If your bike is left in a shed or garage, is that outbuilding secure? You could use tamperproof bolts to increase security on these outbuildings.

• Consider fitting an alarm where your bike is stored. Battery operated passive infra red (PIR) detector alarms with a loud siren can be used if mains electricity is not available. They cost around £20.

• If possible keep the bike out of sight. If a bike can be seen over a wall or fence or through the window of a shed or garage it could be targeted by thieves.

• Take a photograph of your bike and record the frame or serial number, along with any unique parts you have fitted. Store the information online if possible, so that it can be easily retrieved.

• If your bike has been stolen please do not touch anything which may have been handled or touched by the thieves to allow police to conduct forensic investigation if required.