Police in Northumberland are warning cyclists to lock up their bikes after a number of thefts in the county in recent weeks.
Residents are advised to use good quality locks and make sure bikes are secure, even if they are being left somewhere for just a short period of time.
And parents are being urged to ensure that their children have the right equipment and know what they need to do to keep their bike safe.
Almost half of all bicycle thefts in the Northumbria Police area have taken place after they have been left unattended and insecure.
Northumberland Chief Inspector Peter Reeve said: “Criminals are on the look out for opportunities and a bike that has been left unlocked and out in the open is a prime target for a thief and can be stolen in seconds.
“Bikes can be expensive pieces of equipment and people need to start looking after them.
“If you are leaving your bike unattended, make sure you secure it to something with a good quality lock.
“Store them in garages or sheds if leaving them for long periods of time and always ensure that you lock sheds and garages.
“Little steps like this will help you protect your bike and keep thieves at bay.”
The advice is part of Operation Soundwave, a Northumbria Police campaign targeting opportunist thieves and burglars and promoting crime prevention advice to the public.
Cyclists are also reminded to sign up to the free property registering website www.Immobilise.com – which ensures if property is stolen and later recovered, it’s returned to the rightful owner.