CYCLISTS are calling for action after figures revealed an “epidemic” of thefts with more than three bikes a day stolen in Southampton.

Data released by Hampshire police shows that 714 bikes have been stolen in Southampton since the start of 2017 and the number for the year looks likely to exceed the 860 of 2016.

The figures have been released just weeks after city transport chiefs launched a £25 million strategy aimed at trebling the number of cyclists in the city.

Victims claim the police are not treating cycle thefts seriously enough.

Daren Wheeler, 52, a personal cruise expert who works at Carnival UK, said he has had one bike a year stolen every year for the last 15 years – with the latest theft occurring outside work.

He said: “The thing that angers me about Southampton is that there are bikes chained up in the crime areas – but is putting signs up the best they can do?

“It goes back to the bobby on the beat argument – I thought there would be CCTV up outside Carnival UK and around Westquay but there isn’t.”

Jacky Sisson, a retired district nurse from Upper Shirley has had two bikes stolen in the last three months, and says police aren’t doing enough to catch the thieves.

The 65-year-old trainee tour guide said she had left her bike double locked on Winkle Street where it was in her sight – but it had gone when she returned half an hour later.

She said: “The thieves are getting very sophisticated and must have been watching me. I think they just took the bike put it in a van and drove off. I though OK it was my fault as I hadn’t used a D-lock – but the second one was D-locked outside the Marlands Centre underneath a sign that says the police are targeting bike thieves.”

However, when Ms Sisson reported the theft to the police she was told that if a theft is not reported within two hours, then police will not review CCTV further back than those two hours.

She said: “They are not targeting bike thieves. They are not being proactive.”

She added: “The police have said there are gangs with vans carrying out these thefts, so why are the police not doing more to record number plates and stop these people?

“I do appreciate bike theft is countrywide but it does not appear to me that this is being given enough priority in our local area.

“Having cycled all my life, after the second theft I have been left feeling extremely vulnerable.

“I am wanting to encourage more visitors to come into the city and see all we have to offer, that was what I was doing both times I have had my bikes stolen.”

Hampshire police refute allegations that they are not investigating cycle thefts.

A spokesman for the force said: “Each report of cycle theft is assessed at the time the report is made and all lines of enquiry available to us are pursued. We assess crimes based on balancing threat, risk and harm to the community or individual. The length and quality of CCTV are part of that risk assessment.

“We have arrested nine people in connection with bike thefts in Southampton since April this year. These investigations are currently ongoing.

“People living in the city can help us to tackle the problem by reporting suspicious activity to us and using a quality D-lock to secure their bike. We offer Sold Secure D-locks at our police stations at a 50 per cent discounted price.

“We also encourage cyclists to lock bikes in busy, well-lit areas and to make sure any quick-release items are removed or locked to the bike.

“Bikes can be registered for free at We use this site to reunite stolen or lost property with its rightful owner.

“If you keep your bike in a shed or garage, make sure there is a decent lock on the door and the bike can be secured with a D-lock to an anchor point that is fixed into the ground. Report any suspicious activity to 101.”

A spokesperson for Southampton City Council said its strategy includes a rolling programme of installing secure cycle parking and maintenance hubs on streets, at rail stations, workplaces and schools.

“In addition, we are working in partnership with Hampshire Police to provide free cycle security marking and discounted bike locks.

“As part of the planning process, we ask developers to provide safe and secure cycle parking within all new developments. The cost for all of these measures are included in the Cycling Strategy Delivery Plan.”