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The Corporation

Posted: 31/10/22

College students to give bicycles new lease of life to help theft victims

Victims of bicycle theft on a Mansfield housing estate could be provided with a fully-refurbished replacement, aided by the skills of students from West Nottinghamshire College’s engineering department.

  • Students from the college's engineering department will refurbish the bicycles.
  • Mansfield District Council community safety officers and Nottinghamshire Police will be working together on the crime prevention initiative on the Oak Tree estate.

The college is supporting a multi-agency scheme to help students living on the Oaktree Lane estate who have had their bicycles stolen.

In this scheme, Nottinghamshire Police anticipate they will be able to allocate eight to ten recovered or used bicycles a month to the college to provide student victims of cycle theft with a replacement.

Students at the college’s Engineering Innovation Centre will refurbish the bicycles with funding for the parts provided by Mansfield District Council. Each would also be fitted with an ImmobiBike Cycle Protection Kit.

Phil Clark, the college’s assistant principal for construction and engineering, said: “The automotive, engineering, metal fabrication and welding department is very excited to become involved in this scheme. This will provide our multi-skills students with an opportunity to work on a live project and gain those additional skills in these disciplines.

“It makes me proud to know that these bicycles will be given a new lease of life as well as being offered to individuals who may have lost theirs through an act of crime. Both our students and teachers, and automotive teacher James Duncan, who is the project lead, can’t wait to be involved in this valuable work to support the communities.”

The scheme forms part of a joint council, police and fire service initiative to cut the number of deliberately set fires and thefts of bicycles and motorbikes on the Oaktree Lane estate.

It comes after the district council made a successful £33,000 bid to the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Safer4All (Target Hardening) funding. 

The council's community safety team will be working with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver an action plan between now and March 2023 to cut crime and anti-social behaviour on the estate.

Crime figures show the estate experiences high offending rates with arson, and theft of bicycles and motorbikes particular issues. These will be the focus of crime prevention events in the coming weeks to offer free locks and anti-theft kits plus outreach work with schools and community groups.

The area is currently designated a priority neighbourhood for the council, the local Community Safety Partnership and Neighbourhood Policing Team, for actions to improve the quality of life for residents. 

The Safer4All funding is from a pot of £800,000 that the PCC has allocated to support crime prevention initiatives between 2022 and 2025, with £100,000 assigned to each of the seven local authorities and the city council in the county, which equates to £33,300 per area per year.

The action plan for Oaktree includes the council and police joining forces to run single day bike security events on the estate in the coming three months where motorcycle owners can have their bikes fitted with anti-theft screw kits which prevent the easy removal of their bike's number plate.

This will not only act as a deterrent to theft but will also prevent the theft of number plates to hide the identity of stolen bikes, and help the police identify stolen motorcycles more easily. Owners will have to show that they are residents of the estate by bringing their V5 certificates.

Similar events will be targeted at the owners of pedal cycles prior to and after Christmas Day, where Oaktree residents can get free high quality D locks and where bikes worth over £300 can be fitted with GPS tracking devices or ImmobiBike Cycle Protection Kits.

To help reduce the number of deliberate fires and anti-social behaviour relating to bonfires and fireworks on the estate in the run-up to Guy Fawkes night on 5 November, the fire service will be going into youth groups, community groups and schools to highlight the dangers and issues relating to arson.

The Mansfield Community Safety Partnership also intends to install a CCTV camera at the hotspot location for fires on the edge of the heathland near the estate.

Fire crews will also be organising targeted activity and heightened visibility on the estate, with appliances visiting streets, discussing fire safety and fitting safety appliances for residents.

In the future, to amplify messages, fire appliances will also carry advertising messages specific to the Oak Tree Lane estate.

Anyone with information about deliberate fire setting can call FireStoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5558. Anyone experiencing anti-social behaviour in the district can report it on the council website at www.mansfield.gov.uk/report. In an emergency always call 999.