BIKE thieves are targeting the Worthing area.
Around 40 bikes are being stolen each month, both from streets around the town centre and from people’s gardens on the outskirts of town.
Worthing police say the biggest problem is not being able to reunite recovered bikes with their owners.
Sergeant Craig Burgess said: “It has been horrendous, but you tend to find that most seaside towns have problems with bike thefts.
“At least 40 are being stolen every month, both from off the streets around the town centre or from people’s front gardens.
“One of the big problems is that people leave their bikes unattended, without locking them up.
“People often go into a shop and just leave their bikes because they think that they are only going to be a couple of minutes and assume it will be safe. I think people also think that it will not happen to them.
“There is a core element of people who are stealing bikes regularly but there is also a number of opportune thieves operating.
“We recover lots of bikes from known offenders but also bikes that have just been dumped in the street which people have taken to get somewhere.
“It means that a certain amount of bike theft is preventable, probably at least 40 per cent are stolen by opportunist thieves.”
Sgt Burgess said that it was vital that people knew the serial number of their bike.
“We keep all the details on our system but one of the biggest issues is identifying bikes as people do not know the bike serial numbers when they report the crime.
“When bikes are recovered it makes it more difficult to match up bikes to owners if this number is unknown.”
The police are offering free bike marking on Saturday, October 19, beneath the clock tower in Worthing, from 11am to 1pm.
Bike owners are advised to always lock a bike using a good-quality lock, even when storing it at home.