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Smart lock clamping down on bike theft

PUBLISHED: 08:17 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 24 October 2018

(From left) Geotekk founders James Sheppard and Matthew Leach. Picture: Geotekk

(From left) Geotekk founders James Sheppard and Matthew Leach. Picture: Geotekk

Geotekk

A Norwich company which has spent three years and £250,000 developing a smart bike lock is gearing up to take its product to market for the first time.

Geotekk was founded by friends James Sheppard and Matthew Leach, who came up with the idea of the Limpet lock after both their bikes were stolen.

In 2015 the pair secured £200,000 in angel investment, as well as £50,000 from the University of East Anglia, where Mr Leach studied medicine, to begin the prototyping process. Following a £10,000 Kickstarter round for further testing, Geotekk is hoping to launch in stores in summer 2019.

“We’ve been to the Halfords’ head office, and they’re very interested in stocking the product,” said Mr Sheppard, of Horsford.

“Kickstarter buyers will receive their products in early summer 2019, with the products hopefully going on to shelves later that summer.”

A Limpet lock attached to a motorbike. Picture: GeotekkA Limpet lock attached to a motorbike. Picture: Geotekk

The smart lock operates by the user setting up a geofence - an area within which the bike must remain - and a sensitivity monitor. The alarm is activated if either of the parameters is breached.

The lock, which is attached to either a saddle clamp for push bikes or a throttle lock for motorbikes, has strobe lights and a piercing alarm sound, and sends an SMS to the owner’s phone to alert them to the movement.

Mr Sheppard said: “Bike thefts are an increasing problem, with criminals going out with wire cutters or even angle-grinders to saw traditional locks off bikes. Statistically a lot of bikes are stolen close to the owner’s home, so getting that alert in the crucial first few moments could allow owners to stop the theft.”

In Norfolk 3,400 push bikes were stolen between 2016 to July 2018, worth a total of £1.7m.

“The idea is layering security,” he said. “We suggest that you use it alongside more traditional locks, but if you’re in a low-risk area and are popping into the pub for a drink you could just use the Limpet.”

He added: “The accelerometer which measures impact on the Limpet can be set by the user so that it’s not going off all the time. There’s also an override.”

The Limpet is expected to cost £129.99 with a bike seat clamp or motorbike lock at £29.99.

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