GTS 300 thefts in London
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Lurker
Joined: 13 Nov 2015
Posts: 2

Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:07 am quote
Hi there,

I wanted to see if there was any pattern to GTS300 thefts in London.
Mine (LD11 SRX - black with chrome bars, fly-screen and topbox in case you see it) was first nicked in March in SE1 using a master key.
It turned up in Scotland a month later as part of a Serious Crimes Squad investigation (?).

I got it back, but in September it was taken from outside my flat in Clapham - they kindly left the front wheel locked to the lamppost. I think it appeared briefly on Gumtree in Kennington as a "300 reg as a 125", but got taken down before I could go and have a look.

I had put down a deposit on a replacement to pick up this weekend, but that was stolen two nights ago before I could even pick it up to have it stolen myself. It's like cutting out the middleman.

From reading all the threads, it seems they're either being nicked for smash and grab get away vehicles, or to be ringed into "300 reg as a 125" and turning up on Gumtree.

Is there any other pattern? Is it impossible to have a 300 in London anymore without a Doberman chained to it? Is it worth setting up a database of "300 reg as a 125" when they pop up to see if they can be tracked down?

Or is it a no-hoper? Any ideas welcomed!

2014-09-05 12.55.30.jpg
The lost Vespa

Hooked
Vespa GTS 250ie
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 391
Location: London
Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:33 am quote
Crikey,

Sorry to hear your tales of woe. There is no doubt that GTS 300's are hot property in London at the moment.

It seems to me even a cursory investigation by the police/DVLA into advertised 125's with 300 engines would turn up all sorts of scum.

I advertised a smashed but still ride able GTS 250 a while ago and had loads of dodgy callers about it. When someone finally came to look at it I didn't show it to him at my flat, I took it to the bike parking behind metropolis motorcycles in Vauxhall so the buyer didn't see where I parked its replacement.

I only use a fairly ordinary Abus City Chain, not a mega thick chain. I might start using my cycle D lock through the back wheel as well though.
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Vespa GTS 300 Super
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:42 am quote
Securing the front wheel is a waste of time. No matter how thick the chain is, the wheel is only held on with 5 hex screws.

I'd suggest something like an anti pinch pin (pictured) through the rear wheel and use a 16mm almax/pragmasis chain.

image.jpeg

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Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:01 am quote
Sorry to hear about your theft

I think most scooters are pretty hot property at the moment...scooter club pages on Facebook are plastered with people searching for their nicked vintage Lambrettas and Vespas.
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:54 pm quote
Why don't the moderators invite Vespa/Piaggio to explain how they plan to improve security on their scooters? It might be good for them to understand that there is obviously a problem & they might even hear some good ideas from us. If thefts continue in this fashion then people are going to buy other "less appealing" bikes and Vespa will obviously lose future sales.
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:10 pm quote
robinm wrote:
Why don't the moderators invite Vespa/Piaggio to explain how they plan to improve security on their scooters? It might be good for them to understand that there is obviously a problem & they might even hear some good ideas from us. If thefts continue in this fashion then people are going to buy other "less appealing" bikes and Vespa will obviously lose future sales.
I think Vespa/Piaggio are working on security.. All the modern models have immobilisers, steering locks, compatable with handlebar locks, spoked wheels for using chains, exposed discs for using disc locks...
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The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:31 pm quote
The current immobilisers are worth shit. The London perps can ride away a locked and immobilised Vespa within two minutes. Not just push it or lift it - but start it and ride it away.
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125/150
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:46 pm quote
Hi guys a chap posted something like"buy a twisty they dont nick em cos they cant change gear"

on a more serious note have a friend thats a biker policeman and this was looked at on another post , lots of people can spot ringers and suspicious auctions some of the people on here
could probably pick them out on ebay gumtree ect he said they don't have the expertise but welcome members of the public's input,it wouldn't stop the smash and grabs but catch a few of the the nick and strip plonkers, might just deter the others


george


Gobshite Shiva
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:09 pm quote
I've been emailing MAG - motorcycle action group - about ringers for months now and they haven't even bothered to answer any of my emails. Police don't have the resources. Mine was stolen from out front of my house about 4 months ago. I don't know anyone who owns a GTS300 in London at the moment who hasn't had it stolen or had an attempt made. You'll need at least 2 16mm chains or shackle locks on it at all times - fastened to an immovable object like a house or a tree etc. - if you don't want some toerag to run off with it. There doesn't seem to be any brand or engine size that's immune at the moment - my neighbour had his Honda SH125 nicked in broad daylight in Romford market.

so yeah, there's a pattern - pretty much every scooter out there is a target.
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Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:15 pm quote
mattscoots wrote:
I think Vespa/Piaggio are working on security.. All the modern models have immobilisers, steering locks, compatable with handlebar locks, spoked wheels for using chains, exposed discs for using disc locks...
I suspect if you lived in London and rode a GTS then you'd be a little less trusting in Piaggios ability to secure their vehicles. If I was looking to spend 4000 on a premium scooter then I'd like to think I could ride it for more than a few weeks before it gets stolen. The fact that they're silent on the matter suggests to me that they really don't care.
Molto Verboso
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:35 am quote
What you have is the Police that don't care about your scooters...
What we would do in the USA? We would invade the Mayor's office with phone calls, letters, and protest, and then get the media after the mayor/police.....
I would get 1000 scooters circling city hall!
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:52 am quote
Quote:
What you have is the Police that don't care about your scooters...
sorry i have to respond on the subject of ringers ,parts without a market for cheap untraceable parts and bargain scooters they wouldn't steal
so many vespas,demand fuels theft if everyone bought from reputable retailers they would have no market ,but its easier to just blame the police

fake goods,cheap cigarettes ,beer ,wine ,clothing its endless,auction sites are
riddled with stolen,fake stuff this demand for everything cheap creates a culture of entitlement without responsibility and if its desirable and can be resold without question they will steal it,

https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/criminals-distributing-fake-medicines-busted

its prioritising resources and its overwhelming police forces
george

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Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:36 am quote
robinm wrote:
I suspect if you lived in London and rode a GTS then you'd be a little less trusting in Piaggios ability to secure their vehicles. If I was looking to spend 4000 on a premium scooter then I'd like to think I could ride it for more than a few weeks before it gets stolen. The fact that they're silent on the matter suggests to me that they really don't care.
I do ride (and therefore park) in London; my office is in Farringdon and I spend a lot of time scooting around the city during the week.

What else would you suggest that Piaggio do? And I ask that as a genuine question, because I have no ideas and would be interested to hear your thoughts
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:57 am quote
VIGILANTE
Bait a trap and catch them in the act. Then tattoo SCOOTER on their right cheek and THIEF on their left cheek. Can't hide the shame.
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:36 am quote
mattscoots wrote:
robinm wrote:
I suspect if you lived in London and rode a GTS then you'd be a little less trusting in Piaggios ability to secure their vehicles. If I was looking to spend 4000 on a premium scooter then I'd like to think I could ride it for more than a few weeks before it gets stolen. The fact that they're silent on the matter suggests to me that they really don't care.
I do ride (and therefore park) in London; my office is in Farringdon and I spend a lot of time scooting around the city during the week.

What else would you suggest that Piaggio do? And I ask that as a genuine question, because I have no ideas and would be interested to hear your thoughts
Perhaps it's the fact that your Vespa is 45 years old, geared and only 50cc that makes your vespa slightly less appealing to thieves. Others have very different experiences. Manufactures should design their vehicles from the start with security in mind - if it takes 2 minutes for an untrained youth t o remove your immobiliser then it' doesn't really count as an immobiliser. There should be easy locking points for chains that allow people to secure their bikes. The front wheels have security bolts rather than standard allen bolts. A useful helmet hook might be worthwhile. There could be standard alarms that notify owners or just ring loudly. All the major parts on the bike could be marked so they could be traced to the original bike. Manufactures should work with the police to bait thieves with bikes that they can track. The police should understand that say you won't chase criminals on scooters without helmets just encourages youths to steal scooters and race around without helmets. Changing the policy to ramming such riders would stop the thefts and would encourage criminals to wear some protection. Have cameras observing high risk parking bays and perhaps allow the public to see the video and alert police if they see something wrong.

Sorry there wasn't much order in the above but I just wrote down things as they occurred to me, I'm sure I could go on with more ideas.
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:38 am quote
robinm wrote:
Why don't the moderators invite Vespa/Piaggio to explain how they plan to improve security on their scooters? It might be good for them to understand that there is obviously a problem & they might even hear some good ideas from us. If thefts continue in this fashion then people are going to buy other "less appealing" bikes and Vespa will obviously lose future sales.
You speak as if we have some sort of direct line or relationship with Piaggio, or that Piaggio somehow is answerable to the MV Mods. You definitely have us confused with someone else.

Securing your Vespa is your problem. Piaggio can provide immobilizers and alarms, but if you live amongst a culture of thieves, you are the one who will have to use chains, locks and secure off street parking to protect your investment. What pray tell, can Piaggio do to keep toerags from cutting your chain, lifting up the scooter and throw it into a van?

I guess they could embed microchips into key components, but that would only identify a part once it is stolen and discovered, not prevent the theft. Who will do the scanning of bikes to see if they have a stolen microchip?

The problem is not with the people in Pontedera, but with certain people in London.
Molto Verboso
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:28 am quote
Piaggio could introduce the lock that covers your ignition. And stop doing a learner 125 that looks exactly like the licence only 300cc with easily swappable engines.
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:01 am quote
Aviator47 wrote:
You speak as if we have some sort of direct line or relationship with Piaggio, or that Piaggio somehow is answerable to the MV Mods. You definitely have us confused with someone else.
MV represents a sizeable chunk of their customer base. I'd of thought they'd jump at the chance of finding out what their customers need and to get a chance of saying why they should upgrade to the latest model.
Aviator47 wrote:
Securing your Vespa is your problem. Piaggio can provide immobilizers and alarms, but if you live amongst a culture of thieves, you are the one who will have to use chains, locks and secure off street parking to protect your investment. What pray tell, can Piaggio do to keep toerags from cutting your chain, lifting up the scooter and throw it into a van?
Vespa's are expensive products that tend to sell well to customers in large, rich cities. These places also attract thieves. I don't expect Piaggio to stop thieves from being able to lift a bike into the back of a van but I do expect them to stop some toerag from walking up to my locked bike and then driving it away in under 2 mins.
Aviator47 wrote:
I guess they could embed microchips into key components, but that would only identify a part once it is stolen and discovered, not prevent the theft. Who will do the scanning of bikes to see if they have a stolen microchip?
Microchips are expensive but systems like alpha dot are moderately cheap. If manufactures or dealers coded the bike before selling it then it would put a stop to thieves being able to sell the parts on ebay etc. It's easy enough to spot what parts are "likely" stolen, then have the police call to scan the parts. You only have to put one thief away to stop a whole bunch of thefts. I did a quick search on ebay and could see loads of very dubious offers - one chap, selling a nearly new engine, had parts on sale from 3 other nearly new Vespa's and states "other parts for vespa gt gts gtv lx lxv s et4 et2 avaliable too". If those parts where traceable then he'd be easy to stop.
Aviator47 wrote:
The problem is not with the people in Pontedera, but with certain people in London.
So people in London (or other major cities) shouldn't buy Vespa's then? I like my Vespa but I just want to know that the manufactures understand that there is an issue and that they're looking into doing something about it.
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:16 am quote
GTdespatchcourier wrote:
Piaggio could introduce the lock that covers your ignition.
This, certainly.
Quote:
And stop doing a learner 125 that looks exactly like the licence only 300cc with easily swappable engines.
I'm not sure the marketing folk at Piaggio would agree.

They should also make the immobiliser separate and much less accessible (as they used to be on older models), and design it so it can't be reset to a virgin state. As it is, it's hardly a deterrent.
Molto Verboso
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:06 pm quote
Here in Michigan and other states, the insurance companies are financing the police with money to arrest and prosecute "Chop Shops" that deal in stolen vehicles and using them for parts...
The insurance companies must be taking a big hit, get them involved....
The cops use stings on cars, leaving keys in them, and having cut out devices on them, so the car thieves can't run...
No one have seen "Cops" on TV????
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:17 pm quote
I don't want to pay more for my scooter because of toe rags 18,000km away.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:19 am quote
znomit wrote:
I don't want to pay more for my scooter because of toe rags 18,000km away.
Ditto (but 150 miles away), but it would be nice to see an OEM bolt on 'security' option for people who live in toeragville
Molto Verboso
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:54 am quote
[quote="greg531"]
The insurance companies must be taking a big hit, get them involved....
quote]

they gaain far more then they pay out

also I have a Suzuki that has a cover for ignition

also the pcx I had did the same it was a simple but effective idea that was cheap
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:27 am quote
znomit wrote:
I don't want to pay more for my scooter because of toe rags 18,000km away.
Which is why I said:
Quote:
The problem is not with the people in Pontedera, but with certain people in London.
Something which robinm completely misunderstood.

Based on posts here, there appears to be an inordinately higher rate of theft in London or the UK. The "certain people" to whom I refer are the thieves, not to mention the buyers who seem to be willing to buy parts or scooters without questioning their origins. We don't see anything close to to the London/UK theft postings from any other geographic area. Yes, you have a problem, and I am sympathetic with London/UK owners' plight.

I am all for "basic" security. However, if one lives in a high theft area, then "enhanced security" is the owner's responsibility. A New Zealander should not necessarily pay a premium for a device that is not imperative where he lives. znomit expresses my view completely.

Sadly, the aftermarket products for security tend to be more focused more on the lock and chain approach, than, for example, making the immobilizer and/or ignition switch harder to defeat. If you want to beat up on a manufacturer, the aftermarket is the place to go when theft is not a more widely spread issue. This way, znomit and I, as well as 10s of thousands of others, would not have to pay for a device that is of very limited utility to us.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:37 am quote
robinm wrote:
Microchips are expensive but systems like alpha dot are moderately cheap. If manufactures or dealers coded the bike before selling it then it would put a stop to thieves being able to sell the parts on ebay etc. It's easy enough to spot what parts are "likely" stolen, then have the police call to scan the parts. You only have to put one thief away to stop a whole bunch of thefts. I did a quick search on ebay and could see loads of very dubious offers - one chap, selling a nearly new engine, had parts on sale from 3 other nearly new Vespa's and states "other parts for vespa gt gts gtv lx lxv s et4 et2 avaliable too". If those parts where traceable then he'd be easy to stop.
Getting the police to prioritize their resources to check every suspicious alpha dotted item being sold could be quite the chore. I'd leave it to kittysaz to comment on that.

I don't know if off duty police can be hired to do police duties for specific purposes in the UK, as is possible in many jurisdictions in the US, but if they can, then getting a program up and running where off duty officers were hired to work specifically on checking the dodgy sellers you mention would be an approach. Your MAG or insurance companies could create a fund to pay the officers to check vendors that other non-police workers identify. The non-police workers identify suspects and the police officers investigate and arrest as appropriate.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:38 am quote
fleece wrote:
znomit wrote:
I don't want to pay more for my scooter because of toe rags 18,000km away.
Ditto (but 150 miles away), but it would be nice to see an OEM bolt on 'security' option for people who live in toeragville
Or, an aftermarket one. Who gives a shit where it comes from?
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:54 am quote
Aviator47 wrote:
Something which robinm completely misunderstood.
I understood, I just didn't agree. I believe that scooters are stolen in many places and not just in London. I also understand that things are different on the Greek islands - my father has lived there for years and he usually leaves the keys for his car in the ignition while the keys for his motorbike hang from a string from the handlebars. When I lived in Japan and Switzerland, crime was also pretty much absent but does that mean all cars and bikes should be sold without security just because there are a few places where it's not needed? If Piaggio are going to equip a scooter with an immobiliser then shouldn't they do it in such a way that it actually does it's job?
Aviator47 wrote:
Getting the police to prioritize their resources to check every suspicious alpha dotted item being sold could be quite the chore.
They don't need to scan every item on ebay. You could easily have an interested group like MV send suspicious ads to local police. They could then prioritise items and arrange to call round to "buy" them. Scanning takes a moment and, if the items appear stolen, then the seller is arrested. If they get jail then this stops other bikes from being stolen which will save police time and lead to better arrest rates.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:13 am quote
robinm wrote:
Aviator47 wrote:
Something which robinm completely misunderstood.
I understood, I just didn't agree. I believe that scooters are stolen in many places and not just in London. I also understand that things are different on the Greek islands - my father has lived there for years and he usually leaves the keys for his car in the ignition while the keys for his motorbike hang from a string from the handlebars. When I lived in Japan and Switzerland, crime was also pretty much absent but does that mean all cars and bikes should be sold without security just because there are a few places where it's not needed? If Piaggio are going to equip a scooter with an immobiliser then shouldn't they do it in such a way that it actually does it's job?
Aviator47 wrote:
Getting the police to prioritize their resources to check every suspicious alpha dotted item being sold could be quite the chore.
They don't need to scan every item on ebay. You could easily have an interested group like MV send suspicious ads to local police. They could then prioritise items and arrange to call round to "buy" them. Scanning takes a moment and, if the items appear stolen, then the seller is arrested. If they get jail then this stops other bikes from being stolen which will save police time and lead to better arrest rates.

robinm
What one of us "believes" and the facts on the ground may be two very different things. Obviously, znomit is happy with the current theft deterrents on his Vespa, and very, very few theft threads originating in the US have made it to MV.

Why don't you contact an aftermarket company in the UK to make and sell an add on, such as a key operated secondary kill switch that mounts unobtrusive spot in the pet carrier area? znomit and I may not be interested, but Londonites may, as well as people elsewhere who do not face the same probability of theft, but like to add stuff anyway. Or design and sell it yourself, and make a few quid.

My point about the police is that you have identified a program/approach that requires dedicated time from the existing time available for police duties. Again, I will defer to an actual police officer in your area. such as kittysaz as to whether the crime of scooter theft is a high enough priority to chase after leads an internet forum sends them, rather than that time going towards other police priorities. That's why I suggested the actual interested parties paying off duty officers to do the part that requires a police warrant card.

I don't mean this to sound personal, but you seem to be asking others to bear the cost of a problem that is more significant to you than to many, many of them.

Last edited by Aviator47 on Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:13 am quote
I've noticed more and more newer 125's with the ECS engine (Electronic cooling system).

If piaggio made this change across every new GTS 125, it would be much easier for people to distinguish between a true 300 or 125.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:04 am quote
Aviator47 wrote:
The problem is not with the people in Pontedera, but with certain people in London.
robinm wrote:
So people in London (or other major cities) shouldn't buy Vespa's then? I like my Vespa but I just want to know that the manufactures understand that there is an issue and that they're looking into doing something about it.
I think Al was referring to the thieves not innocent owners......
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:39 am quote
Yes, this is why you can't have nice things.

It's also why I've never owned a Buell or Ducati( though the rate of theft of these here in NZ is an order of magnitude less than that of a Vespa in London).
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:42 am quote
What about putting on a GPS or pager system?
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:29 pm quote
Dongyerscoot wrote:
What about putting on a GPS or pager system?
Well, you still have to get a cop to get it back. I would not chase down a den of thieves. I've had a gun pointed at my face and I gave everything I had in my pockets over. I also slept in my house that night.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:57 pm quote
ashbrook wrote:
Aviator47 wrote:
The problem is not with the people in Pontedera, but with certain people in London.
robinm wrote:
So people in London (or other major cities) shouldn't buy Vespa's then? I like my Vespa but I just want to know that the manufactures understand that there is an issue and that they're looking into doing something about it.
I think Al was referring to the thieves not innocent owners......
Absolutely, Ash. And those who knowingly buy dodgy items.
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125/150
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:35 pm quote
Hi guys its a very difficult subject,we should all be allowed to own things without the swines stealing them ,owning a desirable motorcycle in a high motorcycle crime area ,you really need a garage .......

bikes are just so easy to steal ,i live in a very low crime area ,but i lock the bike, and have an alarm on the bike and on the garage and still don't feel it's as secure as the car,it would give me too much aggravation worrying about it i would probably rather take the bus .......
george
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:54 pm quote
this is precisely why i'm using public transport for the foreseeable. I'm lucky that my parking at work is 100% secure, but at home, definitely not. Very annoying to know that I've got to spend about 1000 putting security measures in place before I can even begin to think about splashing out for a new scooter.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:13 pm quote
genie wrote:
this is precisely why i'm using public transport for the foreseeable. I'm lucky that my parking at work is 100% secure, but at home, definitely not. Very annoying to know that I've got to spend about 1000 putting security measures in place before I can even begin to think about splashing out for a new scooter.
That truly sucks, and I am really sympathetic to the issue. Just not sure how it can be solved. Sadly, as you posted, even your local PTW advocacy group doesn't seem to want to enter the fray. Apparently, it just hasn't registered high enough on anyone other than owners' Richter Scale.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:44 pm quote
I wonder if a strong, locking wheel chock exists. Secure it to the ground, roll the front wheel into it and lock it up. Don't have to use the center stand if it's properly made. Less hassle than a chain for a parking spot on your property.

If some of the brains and energy that has gone into designing aftermarket cup holders and bling was turned towards something like this...................
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Location: London, England
Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:40 pm quote
As a victim of this and a serving police officer in London (not in uniform sorry) the police are trying. We have a motor vehicle crime squad. It's my view that the thefts are partly to use the scooters as fast easy to ride getaways, partly organised criminal networks. I was stopped last week by traffic checking the provenance of my gts250 and I was happy they did.
Get an Almax chain, squire lock and do your best to secure it. I no longer park in London or supermarket or shopping centre car parks.
We cannot as warranted officers do a second security job in the UK. It's open to corruption.
Kitty
Be safe
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Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 12959
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:43 am quote
Thanks for the informed info, kitty.
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