Police warn bike owners to be vigilant after Norwich woman has three stolen in just four months

Police have warned people to lock their bicycles and keep them out of sight after a Norwich woman was targeted three times in just four months.

Mother-of-four Claire Marritt, 30, has been left virtually housebound after three bikes were stolen from her home since last October.

She has now vowed not to buy another bike until she can afford a shed to keep them locked inside.

The first bike was taken from outside the family home in Hunter Road, north Norwich, in October, followed by another theft before Christmas, and one overnight on February 5.

All the thefts took place after the street lights in her road were turned off in a cost-cutting exercise last year, but a Norfolk County Council spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest that crime had increased since the switch-off.

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Mrs Marritt said: 'Prior to last October I had not had anything stolen in the four years I've been living here, and then the street lights were switched off.

'The first theft happened in the dark, and if the street lights had not been turned off, I might have seen the people who took it, as I did hear them.

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'The second bike was taken from the side of the house behind the gate and the third was taken from my back garden.

'But I think when they took the first bike they would have clocked the other bikes and kept targeting us until the other bikes were stolen.

'The third bike, a blue BMX, that was taken belonged to my son Daniel, who has autism, and had paid for the bike himself.

'I just want to warn other people in the area not to leave their bikes outside their homes.'

As reported, Norfolk County Council is in the process of turning off thousands of street lights across the county between midnight and 5am, in a bid to save money and cut carbon emissions.

A spokesman for the council said: 'We will need more time to assess whether switching off the street lights has affected crime in Norwich and across the county.'

Police have offered crime prevention advice to bicycle owners and urged them to lock their bikes to an immovable object when left unattended even when in a secure shed. They should use good quality locks such as 'D' locks, and security mark their bikes with a UV pen and highlight this fact by using stickers to show the bike is marked.

Officers from Norwich North Safer Neighbourhood Team would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the theft of a blue BMX bike in Hunter Road, between 4.30pm on Sunday, February 5 and 7.45am on Monday, February 6.

Have you been the victim of repeated thefts in Norwich? Telephone Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427, or you can email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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