Officers secured the scene after responding to reports from a partner agency about a number of bikes suspiciously locked together and hidden away in bushes, just outside the town centre.
Descriptions of the bikes were checked against details of bikes that had been reported stolen to Sussex Police. Positive matches were made and the bikes were seized. The Neighbourhood Policing Team are investigating these thefts and looking to reunite the bikes with their owners.
Sergeant Jo Webb said: “Bicycle theft has affected Worthing this year. Retrieving this volume of stolen bikes is a positive action. We will now look to reunite their owners to their property.”
PC Tim Jose added: “Operation Velo is a Sussex Police’s initiative to mark and register bikes, and Sussex Police hosts free events at advertised locations where officers will be on hand to mark, register and offer advice about the best way to secure cycles.
“Each bicycle is marked using an anti tamper label and the owner’s details will be registered on a national database, much like that which is used for cars and motorbikes. Officers will be able to check if a bicycle is stolen or in the wrong hands within minutes of stopping the rider.
“The new system will enable officers to stop a cyclist at the side of the road and check for a unique mark. A call to the control room, or by connecting to www.bikeregister.com allows them to check the status of a bike as well as the details of the person registered to it.
“The aim is to put potential thieves off from stealing in the first place, knowing that they are more likely to get stopped and the bicycle will be traceable back to the owner. Officers will also be able to reunite more people with their lost or stolen bicycles as they will be registered on the database.”
In the UK, a bicycle is stolen on average every minute; with less than 5 per cent of those returned as they are difficult for the police to identify the owner.
Sussex Police have given advice on how to prevent bike theft:
Always lock your bicycle wherever you leave it. Make sure it’s locked in a well-lit public area with lots of people passing. Stations and public buildings often have designated areas with bicycle racks. Only use a good quality D-lock. A poor quality lock at the lower end of the market can be easily sawn through or bolt cropped in seconds. It certainly pays to invest in the best quality lock you can afford (At least £30 -£40).
Always lock your bicycle to something immovable, an object a bicycle cannot be lifted over and cannot be broke, cut or removed. Always lock your bike at home even when it is in your garage, flat or halls of residence. Please be vigilant when returning from a ride. If you own a decent bicycle then it is probably a good idea to insure it. There are several ways you can do this; Insure your bicycle on your home contents insurance - don’t forget to cover it for thefts away from home.
You can also visit regular bike marking events in the local area - look out on twitter and on www.sussex.police.uk for Op Velo events near you.