Research has identified three broad groups of cycle thieves:
Joyriders: They steal any type of bicycle for either transport or enjoyment. They generally abandon the stolen bicycle after they are finished with. Many are young offenders, 16 and under.
Acquisitive: They exploit easy opportunities to steal any type of bicycle and trade it for cash or drugs.
Volume: Professional thieves who steal particular types of bicycles and/or numerous bicycles to order. They are not easily daunted. In the case of bikes that are chained together they will often take all the bikes and remove the chains later.
Who buys stolen bikes?
The simple answer is other cyclists. From a survey by insurer LV= around 260,000 UK cyclists suspect that the second hand bike that they are riding around on was stolen, they chose to ignore the possibility when they made the purchase.
Where are they stolen from?
in and around the victim's home;
in and around the victim's workplace;
in public space, such as bicycle-parking facilities;
at risky facilities, such as university campuses and railway stations