Essex Police and Chelmsford City Council have been helping to protect cyclists in South Woodham Ferrers and Chelmsford from theft this summer with a drive to register bicycles on a police database.

The town centre policing team joined council officers at two locations to talk to passers-by about bicycle theft and to provide free bike registration. Unique markings were placed on the bikes and the owners’ details registered on a database which only police officers can access. This increases the chance that a bike can be reunited with its owner if it’s ever recovered by police or found as stolen goods.

67 bicycles were marked in South Woodham Ferrers in May and a further 87 at Riverside Leisure Centre, Chelmsford, on 8 June. At the Chelmsford event, officers also took the opportunity to patrol the Bunny Walks area near the river and to walk the city centre to protect local businesses.

Karen Buttress, community safety lead officer for the council, was part of the effort. She said, “People were really positive about the scheme and surprised it was free! Bike theft crimes are fairly high in city centres like Chelmsford because so many people use them to get around sustainably. It can be very distressing when your mode of transport is taken from you by criminals, so I’m pleased that we’ve managed to help create a safer Chelmsford by giving many people an extra bit of protection from thieves.”

Another bike marking event will be held soon. To find out when and where, follow @ChelmsCouncil on Facebook or Twitter or sign up to the community safety mailing list.

10 tips for keeping your bike safe

1) Register it – check out the link above to find out how to register your bike for free.

2) Record it – take photos and write down unique details of your bike, like the frame number (usually found between the pedals underneath the bike, or where the back wheel slots into the frame)

3) Use a D-lock – thieves can cut through some locks easily. Use two locks and make at least one a D-lock for extra security.

4) Lock it up – lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand.

5) Keep it close – secure the bike as close as possible to the stand so thieves have little room to operate.

6) Remove what you can – If there are easy-to-remove parts, take them with you, or use locking skewers or nuts to secure components to the frame permanently.

7) Park securely – lock your bike at recognised secure cycle parking, which is well lit and covered by CCTV.

8) At home too – lock your bike as securely at home as you would in public.

9) Buying a bike? Ask for proof of ownership and check the bike frame number on the Bike Checker website.

10) Act fast – if your bike is stolen, report the crime to Essex Police as soon as possible and give them the frame number, registration database number, a photo and any other distinguishing details.
Property marking isn’t just for bikes – you can mark any valuable item and register it for free. Find out more on the Essex Police website.

By Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at or on 01245 606984.

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