POLICE are launching a fresh drive to tackle bike theft in York, less than a fortnight after new figures showed more than 2,000 bicycles had been stolen in the past year.

A cycle event is being organised in Parliament Street on Friday, aimed at encouraging cyclists to lock their bicycles with tough locks and chains to help deter thieves.

They will also have a chance to get their bikes registered on the police national database and given ultra violet marking, to assist in retrieving them if they are stolen.

The Press recently obtained figures showing that an average of six bikes a day are being stolen in the city, with 2,173 taken between May 2010 and 2011 – nearly twice as many as in 2009/10. Police said many of the thefts were “opportunist” and urged people to secure their bikes in the city centre.

The city’s worst hot spots for bike crime were Guildhall and Clifton, with 386 and 200 thefts respectively, followed by Micklegate on 190 and Heworth on 188.

Grenville Dowson, a police community support officer who is organising Friday’s event in conjunction with Safer York Partnership, said too many cyclists were using bike locks and chains that were so thin and weak that they could easily be cut or even kicked off.

He said stronger locks and chains would be sold at a discount on Friday to people who could prove they were York residents.

The event, which will take place between 10am and 3.30pm in the area outside Marks & Spencer’s store, will also feature two York cycle organisations, Get Cycling and Cycle Rescue.

The former will set up ramps to give youngsters a chance to practise cycling on them safely, while the latter will carry out minor repairs on people’s bikes. People can also hand in their old bicycles for recycling.