12 Busted For Stealing Bikes From NHS Hospital Workers

Story ByLee Bullen, Sub EditorMichael Leidig, AgencyNewsflash


This is the moment crooks steal a police-planted bike in a Newcastle hospital during a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 12 people for nicking bicycles from hardworking NHS staff during the pandemic.

The incident was filmed at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in the north-eastern UK city of Newcastle upon Tyne after the Northumbria Police set up the special operation.

In the video released by Northumbria Police, two crooks are seen entering a shed containing NHS workers’ bikes.

One of the bikes, believed to be the bike planted by the police because it is unlocked, is quickly identified by the crooks and they then target a second bike with a violently smash the lock off.

They then check the first bike possibly looking for security markings or similar before cycling off on the two stolen cycles.

It was just the latest arrest that resulted during the duration of the operation in 12 people caught who had been targeting hospital workers bikes.

The video was accompanied with the message: “We have snared 12 suspected thieves after we launched a sting operation to prevent hospital staff having their bicycles stolen during the Coronavirus pandemic.


“We were left shocked when we recorded a significant spike in the number of reports of NHS staff working at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) being targeted by thieves.

“The lack of public transport had led to more staff taking to two wheels for their daily commute and those additional bicycles had attracted more criminals to the area.

“A number of public appeals were made to help locate property taken from doctors, nurses and hospital staff who have been putting their lives at risk to save lives in recent months.

“That led to some kind-hearted members of the community donating bicycles to victims – while we stepped up our patrols and made a string of arrests.”

The Northumbria Police added: “Suspecting that many of the offences were committed by the same people, officers at our Newcastle City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team decided to use more covert tactics.

“We launched Operation Monty that saw us plant a bicycle in an area frequented by the thieves – before monitoring it in plain clothes until one of the suspects took the bait.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Karen Madge oversaw the work of Operation Monty and said that it was the least they could do to safeguard NHS workers as they battle the virus.


Madge said: “Our doctors, nurses and hospital workers have been doing an incredible job during the Coronavirus pandemic and have put themselves at risk to save the lives of others.

“It has been absolutely appalling to see these NHS heroes targeted by thieves and we have been putting measures in place to prevent this from happening and to safeguard their property.

“One of those measures was Operation Monty and I am delighted that this sting operation has been such a massive success, securing property and bringing suspects into custody.”

She added: “In fact, it has been so successful that we have expanded the operation to other areas of the city after a reduction in the number of reported thefts at the RVI.

“This planted bicycle could be anywhere at any time and that means our plain-clothed officers aren’t far away either – that should be a huge deterrent to those committing thefts in the city.”

Meanwhile, Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Hearing about the thefts of bikes from hospital workers was just sickening. Times may be hard but it’s also hard to believe anyone, never mind 12 individuals, could be caught doing this.”

According to Northumbria Police, a 44-year-old man has already been handed a six-week prison sentence by magistrates in South Tyneside after targeting a bicycle at the RVI at the end of May.

A further nine suspects also charged with offences linked to bike thefts will appear in court in due course.

A 16-year-old boy arrested for the theft of a bicycle has been referred to the Youth Offending Team, while one detainee has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.