A MAN from Endmoor has recovered at least 25 bikes from a section of the River Kent in the last two years - with five recovered in the last two weeks.

Simon Raven, 62, is a keen cyclist and canoeist. He has a love of the outdoors and litter is one of his pet peeves. Now retired after working at Heysham power station, his pet peeve was taken to another level during his trips into Kendal town centre.

"I have a thing about litter" Simon said. "I started out just litter picking along the river but began to notice all kinds of stuff in the river such as laptops, school bags, buggies, Hoovers.

"There were also so many bikes so I waited until the river levels weren't too high to get them out.

The Westmorland Gazette: Scooters and skateboards have also been found in the river Kent

Simon sticks between Stramongate Bridge to Nether Bridge as this is where he can park easily.

He said: "I often have a collection of them at my home and I try to reunite them with their owners. Many of the bikes are just small children's bikes.

"I managed to get one back to a child who had gotten it for Christmas just three weeks before. One woman got hers back who worked at the hospital and needed it for transportation. 

"If I can't return them, I give them to Re-bike in Carlisle who come and collect them.

"They re-furbish them to sell on. Some are just too damaged however and I have to take them to the tip."

The Westmorland Gazette: Three bikes that Simon currently has at his homeDisturbingly, Simon saw two youths throw a bike into the river in front of him once. He reported this and the stolen bikes to the police however nothing ever came of the incidents.

"For some reason, bikes are just treated differently," Simon said. "I understand the police and the council have their jobs to do, but if it was something like a mobile phone, it would be treated more seriously. 

"Many are stolen from gardens and kids just rag them around and then discard them in the river - I can't understand the mentality. I saw it happen in front of me once but they could have a knife or anything.

"Owners need to ensure that their bikes are secured properly, because if thieves can take them, they will."

The Westmorland Gazette: Many of the bikes Simon has recovered are small children's bikes

Cumbria police have provided some tips for bike owners -

  • "Lock your bike up whenever you leave it anywhere using secure thick cable lock.

  • If possible, use two different types of locks.

  • Thieves can cut through poor quality locks so by using two locks they would need more tools to steal it.

  • Make the locks and bike hard to maneuverer and secure as close as possible to a fixed object

  • When locking your bike, do so in either a secure cycle parking area or in a busy well-lit area with CCTV

  • Change where and how you lock up your bike as much as possible

  • Take parts which are easy to remove and steal with you – for example lights, water bottles, saddles etc.

  • Get your bike securely marked and registered – this serves as a visual deterrent for thieves

  • Record details of your bike such as the frame number and other distinguishing features or take a photo

If you recover a bike and suspect it has been stolen or used in a crime, please contact police and report this via www.cumbria.police.uk/report-it . You can also call via 101."

We have approached Westmorland and Furness council for comment.