After months of planning and detailed intelligence gathering, the Metropolitan and Kent forces sealed off the exits to Brands and apprehended some individuals who suddenly decided they didn’t want to be part of the days racing…
Primarily however, the police operation was addressing the number of stolen bikes, or parts of those bikes, that end up on the race circuits, quite often in the hands of totally innocent racers.
Exactly half of all motorcycle theft in the UK happens in London and the figures involved are staggering:
13,000 bikes stolen last year within the Metropolitan Police area alone.
£11 million quids worth of sports bikes larger than 600cc nicked in London last year.
Many of these bikes are ‘ringed’ and returned to the market very rapidly, quite often ending up in dealers showrooms where they are sold and bought innocently.
However, due to the models most often targeted for theft being the same as those that are well represented in various race series, the operation had some merit.
Although the police began inspecting bikes during early morning scrutineering, it became easier to inspect them post race, while the bikes were held in parc ferme. This was also so that none of the racing schedule was affected.
4 bikes per race were seized as stolen machines, which amounted to a truly shocking 11% of those inspected.
Alas, the available officers were only able to inspect about half of all the machines they wished to look at otherwise the results may have been much higher.
It should be noted that no machines under 600cc were inspected, so the smaller race categories, kids classes and MZ racers were not effected, and as an MZ rider myself, I’m not sure if I should be offended that no-ones wants to steal them….
A metropolitan police spokesman told MAG that of all the bikes seized, only 3 would have been picked up by the usual PNC check, because the rest had had their engine or frame numbers altered to ensure evasion from just such a check. They also said that targeting the first event of the season meant that championship standings wouldn’t be affected.
It should be made clear that the ACU, Palmer Racing who own Brands, and indeed almost all of the officers involved, were not aware of the operation, prior to its commencing and a warrant was attained to cover all of the premises. But the secrecy of the operation goes some way to demonstrate how important the Met views motorcycle theft.
MAG applauds the operation, as it does the ‘Link-Lock’ initiative to encourage locking your bike to another bike lock, if there is nowhere secure to attach your machine. Two bikes are a whole lot harder to steal than one after all.
MAG however, continues to fight for the provision of secure bike parking facilities throughout the country, for convenience, peace of mind and to drive down the cost of insurance for riders.
Its an old phrase, but.. together we’ll crack it!