The victim of a bike theft was left a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters by the thieves who stole his bicycle in Bristol city centre.
Henry Nurser has had four bikes stolen in the city over the past six years, valued together at around £3,000.
But it was the theft of an Orbea bike, worth £1,000, which most frustrated the 60-year-old, who discovered the tool used to steal it left discarded, along with the broken lock cord, at the scene of the theft in Temple Way.
The Wilko-branded bolt cutters are priced £11.50 are on sale a five-minute walk away at the retail chain’s store in Union Street.
Mr Nurser, who works in electronics, said: “I felt pure frustration - I needed to get back home after work and what made it worse was to find the bolt cutters on the floor. At just over £11 a pair for the cutters, it just shows how easy it is to steal bikes.
“They just shouldn’t be sold, there is no reason for it. For normal DIY you don’t need them and if you are a builder you aren’t going to buy a £11 pair, you’re going to pay £100 from a builders merchants.
“I just can’t see the market for them, or devices you can buy like battery powered angle grinders which you can pick up for £50 to £70.”
He added: “It is a good business to be in, nicking bikes - you’ve got all the tools to do it.”
The bike theft was one of four Mr Nurser has been victim to over the past six years. It started with the theft of a Giant bicycle from his shed, followed by the theft of a Dawes bicycle from the car park of his work in summer, 201,8 then the theft of his Orbea bike in the summer of 2019.
In July 2020 he then had a Specialized bicycle stolen again from his shed in Redland.
He now owns a ‘run-around’ bike given to him for free, and also keeps the bolt cutters used to take his Orbea bike as a ‘souvenir’ as well as for odd jobs around the house.
“I realised that using a good bike to get around the city was too attractive for people to steal, so thought I’d get a cheap bike to get around,” he said.
“I worry that with bikes so expensive now, including electric bikes, that people will be put off buying one, especially elderly people - and I think that’s wrong.
“More needs to be done to stop thieves getting the tools to steal the bikes.”
Mr Nurser is not alone. Over the past 12 months, more than 1,561 bicycles were recorded as stolen in Bristol, according to Avon and Somerset Police. Hotspots for thefts include the city centre, Bedminster and Clifton.
The force is deploying more resources to tackle the crime, but has also appealed to owners to get their bikes marked and registered with the Bike Register, a database which can be used to identify stolen bikes.
Group Bristol Cycling also wants more off-street car parking space for safe cycle storage and has suggested empty shops could also be used.
In terms of having bolt cutters or angle grinders in public, police can arrest a person on suspicion of going equipped to steal or commit burglary with intent to steal. If it is taken to court, the Crown Prosecution Service must show that person had the tool in their possession, and that it was intended for use for a burglary or theft.
Wilko has been approached for comment on the sale of the bolt cutters.
Next month, Avon and Somerset Police is holding events for people to register their bikes at Broadmead/Castle Park on April 11, College Green on April 12, The Downs, on April 13, Sainsbury’s at Gloucester Road on April 14 and Horfield Leisure Centre on April 16.