If you have ever experienced the dull, sinking sensation which follows the annoying realisation that your bike has been nicked, you'll be glad to hear about a new SMS-based cycle monitoring system being trialled in Portsmouth.

Recent Home Office statistics show that a bike is stolen every 71 seconds in the UK, with the worst-affected areas being Central London, Kingston-upon Thames and Cambridge.

WASP protection

The SMS and Mobile Messaging Association reports that a cycle monitoring system using SOS Response's Wireless Asset Security Protection (WASP) piloted in Portsmouth last year helped to cut bike crime in the area by 90 per cent. The system combines miniaturised electronics, RFID technology and CCTV.

Cycle owners send a text to a security office to set the alarm system, which is alerted via a sensor in the lock should the bike be move. Live images from CCTV cameras can then be checked to catch any wrong-doers.

Bright-spark Bobby

PC Dave Fairbrother was the bright spark that came up with the idea. He said of the scheme: “Bicycle theft is a huge problem and in the past it was often luck if a bicycle thief was caught. The CCTV cameras could be pointing the wrong way, for example.

“With this technology we will always be watching and any attempted thefts of locked bicycles will result in the thief being captured on camera. The motion sensor lock will also act as a deterrent."