A brazen bike thief has gone viral on Facebook - after a video shot by students caught him red-handed in Peterborough city centre.
The thief is seen reaching into his backpack and producing a giant pair of bolt-cutters in broad daylight and breaking the lock – less than two minutes after it had been secured.
Seemingly unaware, he rides straight past a camera set up by media and journalism students who were filming time lapse footage for their coursework at Peterborough Regional College.
Coincidentally, the bike belonged to communication support worker at the college Perry Sims.
“I could not understand how in broad daylight in the middle of a busy town centre this could happen,” said Perry.
He had locked his bike up in Long Causeway on Tuesday January 5 at around 3:30pm before heading for a coffee with friends.
Just 60 seconds later the thief approaches the bike and within 40 seconds he puts the bolt cutters back in his rucksack and rides towards Cathedral Square – and right into shot on camera.
Student Sophie-May Hopkins, 18, who captured the footage, said: “I didn’t even notice. It all happened so quickly.”
The footage went viral after college lecturer Crystal Brook shared it on her Facebook page.
At the time of writing the video had been viewed more than 55,000 times, and shared by more than 770 people.
Perry has since been overwhelmed with messages of support from other Facebook users.
“The buzz this footage has created is absolutely amazing. I can’t believe how many views it’s had, and they are still going up.
“I have had a few people message me about who they think it might be and even people offering to lend me a bike.”
On average over 380,000 bikes are stolen a year according to stolenbikes.co.uk with Cambridgeshire being hit the worst.
The statistics say that there are bike thefts at 4.71 per 1000 residents every year.
Perry added: “The bike was locked up with a cable lock. I will definitely be investing in a better lock.”
The thief has been described as having brown hair and was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and black tracksuit bottoms at the time.
A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said: “We are currently investigating reports of the theft of a bicycle in Long Causeway, Peterborough, on Tuesday afternoon (January 5).
“The victim, a man in his 30s, had left his black Carrera mountain bike locked to a cycle rack outside Café Nero while he went inside at about 3.40pm.
“After about 10 minutes he noticed his bike was no longer where he had left it, nor was the lock.
“Officers are keen to locate a man who was seen in the area at the time of the offence. He is described as white, about 6” with short brown hair, in his 20s, slim to medium build and wearing black jeans and a grey hoody.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.