AVON and Somerset Constabulary has warned people not to name the youths behind the Bristol Bike Taker gang, for fear it may impede their investigation, known as Operation Buell.
The warning comes following a recent spate of bike thefts in the area, which the group share photos of on Instagram in order to sell them on.
The warning came from Inspector Rob Cheeseman after Finlay Thompson’s 1982 Honda CB100N was stolen from a shed behind his house in Cotham early on Saturday, April 7. Later that day he saw a photo of it posted on the bristol_car.bike_taker Instagram account with the caption 'Anyone want this scrap?'
According to the Bristol Post, Thompson was in contact with a member of the gang who told him his bike was at ‘a car park at Avonmouth Docks’, and later given the name and address of someone who was seen with his bike in Southmead. He passed this information to the police.
Of the latest theft Cheeseman commented: “We are following up all lines of enquiry and are doing all that we can to locate this distinctive, custom made bike. House-to-house enquiries have been carried out in the area but I ask members of the public to keep their eyes peeled and contact us if they see it, or if they have any information about the theft.
“We are aware of the posts on Instagram regarding this theft, however, I would ask people to refrain from naming potential suspects on social media, or reporting sightings on Facebook or Twitter. Information should go via our website or by calling 101. The naming of potential suspects on social media can actually hinder our investigation and ironically divert resources away from us trying to find the bike.
“If you’ve seen this bike, or know where it may be now, please contact us via our website or call us on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5218073582.”