Cyclists are being urged to keep their bikes secure to avoid being taken for a ride by thieves.
Over the past month, there have been 11 bike thefts across Washington – 6 of the thefts were where bikes were left lying on the ground in a garden or yard.
Five were stolen after the lock was cut, mainly at Usworth and Stephenson Industrial Estates.
In one incident, a wheelie bin was used to climb over a fence to steal two unsecured bikes.
Police are urging cyclists to invest in good quality locks and make sure bikes are secured, even if leaving it for a few seconds.
They are also urging cyclists to make sure the bike is secured to a secure immovable post.
Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Les Goodliff said: “We’d always encourage people to use a good quality lock that cannot be cut through and to make sure bikes are secured at all times as bikes left insecure in the garden or in the street present a perfect opportunity for thieves.
“We are starting to see a pattern emerging, and in particular are seeing business premises being targeted and would encourage anyone who does cycle to work to make sure they follow some simple crime prevention advice.
“People invest a lot of money but it is also worth investing in a good quality sturdy lock to help prevent thieves stealing the bike.
“Bikes should, wherever possible, be stored either in the house or in a locked out building – and again, we would urge people to make sure they use a good quality sturdy lock.”
Further crime prevention advice is available on the Northumbria Police website www.northumbria.pnn.police.uk