Bicycle thieves of a different variety may be targetting unsuspecting Manchester freshers when the university year starts next week.
A spate of incidents involving criminals on bikes stealing phones from the hands of unaware pedestrians has led to the warning.
A Manchester Police Community Support Officer, who preferred to remain unnamed, told Mancunian Matters that students were at a greater risk of being targeted.
The officer said: “Crime in Manchester is always on the rise, but students from small towns are more likely to fall victim as they are less used to the prevalence of crime in a large city.
“These crimes have been increasing year on year and we ask students and locals alike to be alert to these dangers.
“The thieves will cycle up next to you, snatch your phone from your hands and you won’t be able to identify them as all you will be able to see is the back of their heads.”
The thieves have been known to mainly target people coming back from nights out, but some incidents have also been known to take place during the day time.
The officer also went on to warn that using apps such as the viral mobile game Pokemon Go could make you more of a target to thieves, as users often tend to be particularly unaware of their surroundings.
Recent statistics show that the number of thefts tends to climb around the time students arrive, with 418 cases in September last year alone. A yearly trend shows a spike around winter, with a total of 2,250 cases between October-January.
Manchester City Council has also said that 1/10 students in Manchester will become a victim of crime during their time at university.
They have also advised for students to not get drunk too quickly and stay aware of their surroundings at all times whilst enjoying their freshers’ week.
Community officers have been distributing reading material near the University of Manchester with information about Immobilise, a service that allows people to register their valuables in case of theft.
If you wish to register your possessions you can do so on Immobilise’s website: https://www.immobilise.com/
Image courtesy of WTNH News8 via YouTube, with thanks.