THE police’s latest weapon in the war against cycle crime in York could see thousands of bikes and their owners registered on a police online database.

Operation Spoke is being launched by the Guildhall Safer Neighbourhood Team, and officers hope the thousands of bike owners in York will register in the coming weeks.

The system works by invisibly marking cycles with a unique registration number which will be stored on a data base along with details of the cycle’s rightful owner.

PC Jonathan Hodgeon, one of the officers behind the scheme, said: “The unique number will be written on the bike in permanent UV pen, which officers can quickly scan in seconds, and if you don’t own the bike you will have to account for that.

“This will help with city centre bike crime and also abandoned bikes will be able to be reunited with their owners. Along with Cycle City York, we are aiming to make bikes as well protected and identifiable as cars.”

Sgt Jon Asvadi, who was also behind the launch, said: “There will be a lot of people saying that we are going back ten years with UV marking but it’s only through Safer York Partnership and City of York Council that we have been able to bring together the technology of UV pens, torches and the website to create a process which is simple and quick and we know will be successful.

Sgt Asvadi said the data would be entered by vetted volunteers and special constables to ensure regular officers were not tied up.

The web site and advertising for the project has been provided by the Safer Partnership, while funding for the UV torches, which will be issued to every officer in York, came from the council’s Cycling City York initiative.

Graham Titchener, programme manager for Cycling City York, said: “It’s a very easy thing to do, but we need people to be proactive about it and bring their bikes to the police.”

Next week will see a number of events in York where cyclists can register.

Alternatively, cyclists are asked to contact their local policing team via the police website at or by phoning 0845 6060 247.

Operation Spoke registration events will be held in York from January 13 to 17, in Parliament Street, on January 14, from 9am to 3pm, in Front Street, Acomb, on January 21, from 9am to 3pm at Oaklands Sports Centre, on January 23 at Tesco’s Askham Bar store, on January 20 and 21 at St Lawrence’s School and on January 22 and February 8 at the University of York.