The Men From The Ministry
Well, what do you know - the UK government takes bike theft seriously.
The ‘keep your bicycle safe’ page on the Home Office’s web site lists all sorts of useful tips for protecting your bike from theft. The first of these is to get your bike insured, which seems a little like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Don’t get me wrong, insuring a bike against theft is a good thing, but if you can avoid getting your bike stolen in the first place, then the insurance should be a waste of money!
Along these lines though, they include advice on locking your bike when at home (you DO lock your bike away when it’s at home, don’t you?), and separate advice on locking up when you’re out & about. Finally, there’s even a link to a downloadable pdf, “Steer Clear of Cycle Theft“. The piece of advice I like best in this is not to be part of the problem - don’t help create a market for stolen bikes. When buying second hand, make sure that the seller owns it in the first place.
I’ve got personal experience of this point, having once been arrested on suspicion of having stolen a bike. I hadn’t, and it was a case of mistaken identity (my bike looked just like the stolen one). But with no receipt from the vendor (who I’d arranged to meet at a halfway point), I had the devil’s own job to clear my name. Since then, I’ve always met vendors at their house, and got written receipts when buying second hand bikes.