Bike thief gets 14 years hard labour

If only European and US judges were as tough on bike nabbers as Magistrate Soka Banda of Malawi.

Last Friday he sentenced Harry Mataka to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing a brand new bicycle.

In passing judgment, First Grade Magistrate Soka Banda said he had given Mataka a custodial sentence because the bicycle was not recovered and that the convict, apart from robbing the woman, wanted to rape her as well. Malawi Daily Times

Would-be London mayor Boris Johnson would no doubt welcome long jail terms for British bike thieves, although he’d go futher…Those that are caught should have their hands cut off, believes the bicycling MP. In March, he was received warmly at a meeting of Islington Cyclists’ Action Group when he said:

“I think these people deserve punishment and I’m calling for Sharia law for bicycle thieves.

“If I had my way I would plant decoys in a whole lot of bicycles across the borough and in the evening I would send Navy Seals in through the thieves’ windows and show them what it’s all about.”

‘Face recognition’ CCTV software targets bike thieves

University of Leeds PhD student Dima Damen, from the University’s Faculty of Engineering, has developed a computer system that detects individuals parking their bicycles and can automatically warn security staff if it appears that someone other than the owner retrieves the bike.

“It’s difficult to monitor CCTV cameras, as operators normally have a large number of screens to watch,” said Damen. “This often results in bicycle thefts being missed, even if they are happening right in front of the camera.”

Currently at prototype stage, Damen’s system takes colour information from CCTV images when a bike is parked and stores it until the bike is retrieved. It then marries the stored information with the new image and where there are significant differences, it can raise an alert to CCTV operators. In initial tests using a camera located above a bike rack at the University of Leeds, eleven out of thirteen simulated thefts were detected.

“Without a system like this, the benefit of CCTV cameras is diminished by the difficulties of manual monitoring,” said Damen. “It’s a simple solution to an extremely widespread problem.”

Bike theft is no laughing matter – a French study found that 23 per cent of bike theft victims won’t return to cycling – but, for a pre-Christmas tickle, watch this motorcycle thief falling from a moving van to the accompaniment of the Benny Hill chase music: