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Stolen bike returned to its rightful owner within hours of its theft – thanks to police security marking technology

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A stolen bike has been reunited with its rightful owner, after it was security marked by police using innovative ‘dot peen’ technology.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 17 January 2018, officers recovered a suspected stolen Carrera bike which had been abandoned on St Andrewgate, York. The bike had been security marked by North Yorkshire Police, meaning its frame was engraved with a unique identification number.

Just as officers were about to visit the registered address of the bike’s owner, she called 101 to report that her bike, worth about £300, had been stolen from Blake Street that afternoon.

The details she provided matched that of the security marking registration, and she was able to collect her bike from North Street Police Station the same day.

Inspector Lee Pointon, of York Police, said: “Every year, we recover hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stolen property, including cycles, from the hands of criminals. Unfortunately, all too often there is no way of identifying its rightful owners.

“Being able to trace the ownership of the property not only helps victims get their belongings back, it can also provide evidence that is vital in securing convictions.”

Dot peen marking involves using a tungsten carbide-tipped pin to indent a bike frame or other object with dots to create a visible, permanent unique number. The unique number is entered onto a property register database, increasing the chances that it will be reunited with its owner if it is lost or stolen.

Inspector Pointon added: “Other methods of property marking, such as UV marker pens or forensically-coded liquid, can also be very effective in reuniting property with its rightful owners. However, the visual deterrent of a permanently-marked serial number alone could be enough to put off thieves, who will know that the property will be ‘too hot to handle’, and impossible to sell on.

“Police will continue to run free property marking sessions across the City of York and North Yorkshire, so please keep an eye out for an event near you.”

Dot peen property marking opportunities are publicised in the local press and on police social media. Visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk/whatisdotpeen for more information about the technology.

Enquiries are ongoing in relation to the theft of the bike.

Last modified: October 17, 2018