Warning over ‘huge spike’ in stolen bikes being sold on Instagram and Snapchat

Bikers have warned of a huge spike in stolen motorcycles being sold on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, often for a fraction of their true worth.

Andrew Roberts, who runs a private Facebook group tackling the issue, said motorcycle theft has reached unprecedented levels in London.

He said criminals believe social media provides them with a “safe haven”.

Frequently the locks on the bikes are snapped and they are pushed away because it is not easy to start them while stealing.


Stolen bikes are allegedly sold for a fraction of the price on social media

However thieves then apparently buy a device for as little as £13 that they add to the wiring, allowing any fake key to work.

Mr Roberts added that once a bike has been stolen, it is sold “on key” or “started” which means it has a fake key that works in it or “not started” – meaning it’s just been stolen and ready for sale.

He told the Standard: “We are now seeing a huge rise in the use of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to arrange thefts or robberies and the sale of stolen goods.

“The criminals believe it provides a safe haven.

“We are seeing a huge spike in ages 12 and 16 taking part in this criminal activity, with crime rates rising to a staggering level.”


Devices which trick the bikes into starting without the original key are also available

The Standard reported last week that children as young as 10 are rapidly becoming more involved in moped gang crime, as worrying figures revealed a spike in youngsters targeting Londoners.

Mr Roberts added: “Daily we are seeing youths taking part in robberies using weapons ranging from acid to guns.

“What makes matters worse is that victims of thefts are mostly left unable to get insurance on motorcycles in the future and when they can they see staggering increases in premiums and must spend the next five years building up their insurance profile once again.”

The spike is not just happening in London but all over the country, Mr Roberts said, with one anonymous victim in Manchester speaking of how he was confronted by moped thieves with “a machete and angle grinders”.

He told the Standard: “I was a victim of bike theft in the Manchester area from a supermarket parking lot.

“I was notified by security that there were people cutting off my chain but when I went to confront them they threaten me with a machete and angle grinders.

“Someone later showed me an Instagram post where someone was selling it, now cannot get insurance again, the impact is devastating and they are selling it for less than 15 per cent of the price I paid.”

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/bikers-warn-of-huge-spike-in-stolen-bikes-being-sold-on-instagram-and-snapchap-a3577651.html