How to avoid buying a stolen bike

Avoid buying stolen on the internet

Buying and selling bikes on Gumtree, and some other sites, is quick and easy, and requires no identification and minimal registration. This has made the web a popular place for thieves to sell bikes.

Typically, a thief won't post a real photo of the bike, and will expect a quick sale, often conducted by mobile phone and on a street corner or outside a pub.

You can avoid stolen bikes by...

  1. Asking the seller where they got the bike
  2. Asking for identification, a landline phone number or a workplace email
  3. Asking for an original purchase receipt
  4. Asking for a receipt for the transaction with their signature and address (you may need it for insurance purposes)
  5. Asking for a bike frame number, which can be checked against lists of stolen bikes such as those on; (serches several databases); (a charge is made on
  6. Expecting a genuine photo of the actual bike, not a catalogue picture.

If an advert looks dodgy, and the seller doesn't have a credible story as to where they acquired the bike, walk away for your own good as well as everyone else's. Remeber that meeting a dishonest seller carries a personal risk.

Reporting Stolen Bikes seen on Gumtree

If you see a stolen bike on Gumtree you can report it by clicking the REPORT button on the right of the advert, highlighting illegal/fraudulent and entering a comment.

Avoid buying stolen on the street

Illegal trading in stolen bikes has been common in areas such as Broadway Market in Hackney, Coldharbour Lane in Brixton, and Brick Lane.

If someone on the street offers you a bike, walk away.

Avoiding theft

By clicking these links:  registering your bike for free,  tips on avoiding theft you can reduce your chances of having your bike stolen.

For regular cycling news, information on the latest products, rides and reviews, sign up to recieve our weekly London Cyclist e-zine