ONE of Glasgow’s top cops has cleared up some of the myths around bike thefts and offered his best tips to avoid having cycles nicked.

Chief Inspector Ross Kelly, area commander for the city centre, told the Glasgow Times how most cycle thefts were carried out by thieves taking a chance because careless owners leave their bikes unattended and do not chain them up properly .

He said: “We are seeing a significant number of bike thefts, in a typical week there are about 15 to 25 bikes stolen across Greater Glasgow.

“A lot of these are opportunistic in nature, so if the owner has not taken the necessary steps to secure it, someone will just walk away with it.

“Then you have the middle ground, where people will take action to secure their bike but they might not do it particularly well. That means that a thief wouldn’t have to do that much to steal it. That might be not using a good quality lock, so it’s easy to break.

“On the other end of the scale, you have links into serious and organised crime, where good quality bikes are stolen to order. You wouldn’t necessarily link bikes to that but that is part of the bigger picture.”

While bike theft gangs do operate and organised criminals are known to operate “steal-to-order” operations where kingpins can request a number of bikes of a certain kind, make or model to be lifted, they are much less common than may be thought.

He also warned that, because most bike thieves are opportunists, the riskiest place to leave a bike would be busy areas such as the city centre.

“I don’t know if there is a least safe place but I think the more rural you are, probably the safer it might be,” said CI Kelly.

“In the city centre, we have so many people commuting in, using bikes, having to find somewhere, not their own property, to keep their bike for the duration of the working day.

“That increases the risk, in terms of the number of people in the city centre with bikes versus more rural places where commuting by bike might not be particularly feasible.”

Police Scotland runs a bike marking scheme with Bike Register, which holds a database of bikes nationally, to try and prevent bike thefts.

CI Kelly added: “It has been shown that having stickers on and some kind of indication that the bike is marked has an effect on someone looking to steal it.”

He recommended that cyclists take precautions to prevent having their bikes stolen because while there were success stories of bike marking schemes reunited owners with their pilfered bikes, these were uncommon.

Cyclists should buy a good quality lock - “It won’t be as expensive as replacing your bike,” said CI Kelly - make sure their bikes are chained to something secure that cannot be easily be broken to get around popping the lock and make sure their bikes are stored in the most secure location available in the circumstances.

Police Scotland are hosting a number of bike marking events across the city as part of Operation Optimize and will be tagging bikes in Kelvingrove Park and at the Glasgow Fort on Friday, August 6.