MORE than one bike a day was pinched across East Lancashire last year, new figures revealed.

Almost 600 bicycles were reported stolen in the region in 2013/14, as the number of thefts rocketed, crime data showed.

In Burnley, it shot up 81 per cent compared to the previous year, while in Blackburn with Darwen it increased by 23 per cent.

Hyndburn saw an increase of 44 per cent and Pendle saw a rise of 10 per cent.

Elsewhere, the number of bikes stolen from Rossendale and the Ribble Valley dropped slightly, from 39 to 36, and from 18 to 14 respectively.

Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones said: “There are opportunistic thieves who go looking for metal but who will steal anything. They go into back yards and take whatever they find.

“Cycling is on the up with the rise in the cost of living, and with people becoming wise to looking after their bodies.

“It’s become very popular on the back of the Tour de France, Commonwealth Games in Manchester and our Olympic success.

“We have become a cycling nation, particularly in the north where we have the velodrome. And there are more people cycling and that’s probably led to the increase in thefts.”

In June, police officers in Rishton appealed for residents to keep their bikes more secure after thieves smashed their way into sheds, taking bikes worth up to £900 in a spate of break ins.

Police are now urging cyclists to lock their bike frames to a pair of step ladders, or other bulky equipment kept in their sheds.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Cyclists should remain extra vigilant and take additional security measures to protect their bike.

“People should get their bike security marked, always use a bicycle lock, even if it is just being left for a short time and where possible, keep their bikes in doors.

“Bicycles should be chained to something secure such as a metal fence or lamp post, to stop them being carried away.”

Parents should also be wary of their children leaving them unattended while playing outside.

Anyone with information about a bike theft should call Police on 101.