By Steve Farrell
12 December 2008
Motorcycle thieves are using social networking websites and classified ad sites to find their next victims, police have warned.
They say riders too often give away enough clues to lead thieves to their bikes, and have issued tips to avoid the trap.
Crime prevention officer Colin Brough said riders selling bikes online sometimes include their home address with directions. He said some ads even include photos giving away where bikes are kept and how they are secured, so thieves know what tools to bring.
Brough said: ‘‘We have clear indications that motorbike thieves are looking at classified ad sites to target bikes to steal. Unfortunately, some people put too much information on their posting, including photos of the bike that also show the shed or garage door behind and whether there is much in the way of security.
‘‘Some of the postings quite literally put out the welcome mat by including a mapping system that provides directions virtually straight to the door of the seller.
‘‘The thieves can then look up the exact location of the bike and we believe they are turning up, with tools if necessary, to break in to the garage or shed and steal the bike.’’
Riders who use social networking sites are also at risk if the post too may details, according to the police warning.
Brough, of Tayside Police, said: “‘Many bikers have blogs on these sites that include a lot of information about them, often with photographs showing them on their motorcycles. A lot of these photos give strong clues as to the location of where these bikes are being stored and where they can potentially be stolen from.
‘‘I must stress that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the sites themselves, or with anyone using them – all include good information on how to keep safe when using them. But it is the amount of personal information that individuals are giving out that can be used by thieves and which is giving us real cause for concern.’’
The force said in a statement: ‘Tayside Police recommends that people look again at their postings and take all possible steps to ensure that there is nothing there to alert the eagle-eyed thief to the location of their vehicles.
‘Those who are selling a motorbike via a classified ads site are advised not to give out a home phone number, or use a mapping system showing the way to their door.
‘At the same time check out the tips that such websites give out themselves in respect of safety, security and any scams.’
Brough added: “We are targeting those responsible in an effort to bring them to justice but we need assistance from motorcycle owners. By reducing the amount of information that they make widely and readily available, they can reduce the chances of being a victim of crime.’’