A senior councillor says everything possible is being done to cut the number of bike thefts at Fleet railway station.

Hart district councillor Steve Forster said British Transport Police (BTP) have been working with Hampshire Constabulary following a spate of thefts at the station.

Cllr Forster said that after the issue was highlighted to him, he spoke with South West Trains (SWT), BTP and Hampshire Police.

“All acknowledged the issue and said they are working in a coordinated way to resolve it,” he added.

“Police have subsequently carried out a lot of work including overt and covert surveillance.

“They inform me they will continue high levels of surveillance to protect the area and they are also now increasing focus on other stations around the area.”

'Free security etching'

Cllr Forster, Hart’s cabinet member for environment and technical services, was on hand to answer any questions from commuters when police visited the station recently to give out security advice and some free sturdy bicycle locks.

“They provided free security etching to around 20 bicycles and gave out around 20 locks,” he added.

“Police are continuing to advise people to lock bicycles by frame to a post, using good quality bicycle D Locks, plus cables through wheels - not just cable locks alone.

Hart district councillor Steve Forster at Fleet railway station bike rack
Hart district councillor Steve Forster at Fleet railway station bike rack

“They are maintaining patrols to deter and catch criminals.

“They will be in Fleet again soon offering security advice and free security marking, plus some free D Locks for season ticket holders.

“I will continue to keep a close eye on this in the future and hope that security stays better.”

Cllr Forster said he is also working with SWT to get more cycle parking and secure cycle parking on the booking office platform as there is a ‘considerable shortage’.

“I’d say probably 200 more spaces are needed,” he said. “I’m also trying to get Hampshire County Council to put in better cycle routes to the station, and road crossings for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The police force said it treats cycle thefts seriously and it is a high priority for them to combat it and catch those responsible.

A spokesperson for South West Trains said: “Cycle security is a priority for us and that’s why at Fleet station we installed a secure cycle compound accommodating 78 bikes.

'Suspicious activity'

“The compound is only accessible using a security fob and is very popular with commuters, which means it is often full to capacity.

“In May (2016), we also installed another secure cycle compound complete with CCTV to provide extra capacity.

“Our Rail Community Officers, in partnership with British Transport Police, also carry out visits to Fleet station and patrol the cycle parking facilities to check the bikes are locked securely.

“We strongly recommend that passengers report any theft or damage to their bikes to BTP and let our staff know about any other suspicious activity they witness.”

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