POLICE have offered Darlington residents a helping hand to protect their property from thieves.

Free bike security marking and crime prevention advice was on offer at an event held at Firthmoor Community Centre, in Burnside Road, Darlington.

The event was held as part of Operation Spoke, a scheme launched by Durham Police to tackle bike theft in the region by helping people to security mark their bikes and register them online.

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PCSO Sarah Stephenson, who hosted the event alongside PC Jeff Summerhill, said the evening was the first Operation Spoke event to be held by Darlington police’s east section.

She said: “Because it is a new operation we are asking people to tell us where they would like these events to be held.

“It only takes five minutes to mark your bike, and by marking them it not only makes it easier to find if it has been stolen, but can also deter thieves from stealing it in the first place.”

Officers are also working with immobilise.com to help people register their belongings online.

Anyone who would like to request a bike marking session can contact Darlington police’s safer neighbourhood unit on 01325-346802.