FIREFIGHTERS rushed to a Southampton address after a flare gun rigged to a bike as an anti-theft device went off.

Residents reported seeing “nippers running off” and hearing a loud bang and a lot of smoke after the gun went off.

A crew from Hightown Fire Station rushed to the scene in Lydgate Road after receiving an emergency call at 10.37pm on Friday.

Daily Echo:

Although no one was injured and no property damaged, firefighters slammed the security measure as “incredibly dangerous”.

Posting on social media, another firefighter said using a flare gun was “not smart”.

A spokesperson from Hightown Fire Station added: “This an incredibly dangerous way to deter theft and could have resulted in serious injury.

“Never thought we’d have to emphasise how much safer a bike lock is.”

Although police did not attend the incident, a spokesperson added: “Even though from what we have heard this incident didn’t result in anyone being hurt, we would encourage people to use more usual deterrents to theft such as a good quality lock or even a bike alarm.

“You don’t want to be responsible for someone getting hurt and the possible consequences of that.”

Police have issued advice for cyclists to keep their bikes safe and out of the hands of thieves – and what to do if their bike is stolen.

Officers urge owners to register their bike with the BikeRegister website.

They say it is a highly effective, visible deterrent to bike thieves as they know that if they are caught with a registered bike, the owner can be traced and they will be arrested.

According to police, thieves can cut through some locks in seconds. They advise cyclists to use two good quality locks, at least one of which is a D-lock.

As previously reported, Southampton man Tom Dickinson who rode the distance of Lands End to John o’ Groats, raising more than £4,000 in aid of NHS workers, had his bikes stolen.

The 24-year-old had been raising money for frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus crisis.

But after completing the gruelling feat, he found thieves had broken into his shed in Bellevue Road on Wednesday, April 15.

They stole his two bikes - a black and red Orbea, Orca Aero and a blue Tifosi, CK7.

Anyone with information about Tom’s bikes is urged to call police on 101, quoting 44200135126.