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Warning as bike thefts increased by 66% during pandemic

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Average value of claims for stolen bikes in the last year was £580

The latest investigation from Admiral home insurance has revealed that the number of claims for pedal bike thefts has risen by 66% since the first Covid-19 lockdown (March 2020 – February 2021), compared to the same time period the previous year.

Analysis of the insurers data found that pedal bike thefts accounted for 32% of all theft claims since the pandemic began, compared with 14% the previous year.

The average value of claims for stolen pedal bikes since the pandemic hit, is £580, and in some cases, has been much higher.

At the start of 2021, bikes worth more than £1,500 were the most popular high value items added to Admiral home insurance policies after Christmas, accounting for 30% all items added to policies.

red bicycle wheel with black tire
There’s been a 66% increase in bike thefts during the pandemic (Image: Markus Spiske)

David Fowkes, Head of Household Underwriting at Admiral, said: “Since lockdown restrictions were first introduced back in March 2020, thousands of people bought bikes for exercise or just for a safe way to get around, and the popularity of having two wheels to get around has continued into this year.

“But as several retailers have reported a spike in bike sales, our data suggests it’s also resulted in a boom in the number of bicycle thefts taking place too. In fact, in the first few weeks after lockdown restrictions were put in place, we saw a spike in the number of bike theft claims, and sadly this figure has continued to rise. We’ve seen a 66% increase in the number of bicycle theft claims since March 2020 when the UK first went into lockdown, compared with the same period of time the previous year. When you consider that other theft claims have fallen as a result of people staying at home, that figure has shot up at an alarming rate.

“Thieves are opportunists and will be looking at and seizing the chance to take advantage of easier targets. Unfortunately, budding cycling enthusiasts around the country might be the exact sort of opportunity they are looking for.

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“As the spring and summer months start to bring warmer weather, we could see even more people purchasing bikes to get around in a bid to avoid public transport, and this could result in a further spike of bike thefts. So, whether you are a cycling veteran or have just bought your first bike, it pays to be vigilant and step up your bike security in order to deter thieves.

“It’s also a good time to make sure your bike is covered on your home insurance. At Admiral any pedal bike worth less than £350 is automatically covered on your policy, but many bikes cost more than this and will need be added as a specified item.”


Admiral has produced this useful guide on insurance for bikes.

Here are Admiral’s tips to keep your bike safe from thieves:

  • Buy yourself a decent bike lock for example one that meets Sold Secure’s Gold standard – but remember that you get what you pay for
  • Always use your bike lock when you leave it unattended away from home, even if it’s just for a few seconds
  • Lock your bike to a solid, immoveable object such as railings or a proper bike rack
  • Make sure it’s locked in a well-lit, preferably busy area covered by CCTV
  • Never leave your bike unsecured outside your home, even on your own property
  • At home always lock your bike away when it’s not being used, and make sure there’s a strong lock if it’s in a shed or outbuilding
  • Register your bike with national schemes such as Immobilise or the Bike Register
  • Take photographs of the bike, including any distinctive marks or features on it – just in case the worst happens

(Lead image: Daniel Frank)


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Lifestyle

The rise of self-trolling: new survey reveals Brits are their own biggest critics, saying more than 1,000 self-deprecating comments each year

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A study of 2,000 Brits found more than a fifth are their own biggest critic – especially when it comes to the way we look.

As a nation we struggle with our self-confidence, with the average adult saying more than 1,000 negative things about themselves each year.

From our hair to weight, new research from Tu Clothing has revealed that more than a fifth (21 per cent) of Brits are their own biggest critic, with 27 per cent admitting they wouldn’t dream of saying some of the things they say about themselves to others.

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A typical day sees the average man say or think three negative things about themselves – 1,095 times a year – while women do so four times a day, amounting to 1,460 insults a year.

Wardrobe blues

Our style is another area we’re very hard on ourselves about, with more than a fifth of adults (23 per cent) admitting they generally struggle to find clothes they feel comfortable in and the same amount again (23 per cent) admitting they care too much about what others think of them.

In terms of being bold with colour, the nation likes to play it safe with black being the most confidence-inducing colour to wear, followed closely by blue and grey. Only 21 per cent feel comfortable wearing yellow, and just 19 per cent would dare to wear orange.

Yet Brits’ outward appearance doesn’t always match their inner feelings, with a fifth (21 per cent) wishing they could channel their childhood freedom to chuck on what feels good.
Tu Clothing has teamed up with actress, TV presenter and mum of three Zoe Hardman to encourage the nation to dress for joy and embrace their inner child this summer.

Zoe Hardman said: “With summer approaching, many of us get nervous about getting body parts out that are hidden the rest of the year including stomachs, thighs and upper arms. We can also have those days when we lack confidence, especially when it comes to the clothes that we wear, which is why this summer I want everyone to tap into their inner child and adopt a carefree attitude when it comes to getting dressed. Kids love to wear what makes them feel great and don’t give a second thought to other people’s opinions.

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“I want to help encourage the nation to embrace their own unique style, care less about what others think and have fun putting outfits together. Summer is a great time to embrace bold colours and patterns which increase both positivity and confidence.”

Bold is beautiful

Tu has also teamed up with Sarah Powell, self-celebration expert and motivational speaker, to encourage the nation to embrace their inner child and dress in brighter, bolder colours this summer.

Sarah Powell said: “I love that kids wear whatever they want, whenever they want. A tulle skirt over wellies? Sure. Jelly shoes with green socks in November? Perfect. Kids don’t get bogged down with ‘what should I wear?’ or ‘what’s the weather doing?’ or all of those things which keep us dressing for practical, sensible reasons rather than dressing for joy.

“Lots of us have a playful side, and it means different things to different people. Your inner child is there and they are wearing something wonderful, so spend a little time and think ‘what would I wear if I didn’t care? What would I wear if it was just about making me feel good?’ That’s the attitude I want us all to have this summer.”

Emma Benjafield, Director of Product at Tu Clothing, said: “I’ve been really looking forward to making the most of this summer and there’s no better time to embrace your body and wear colours, prints and patterns. We want to encourage people of all ages to simply have fun with dressing up, to not be afraid to wear what they want, not to worry what others think.

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“The survey results show people think they’re ‘too old’ for certain clothing items but we want to change this myth – everyone should wear what they want, how they want and when they want. Fashion, after all, should be fun and make you feel good!”

Lead image: Tu Summer Clothing launch with Zoe Haardman and her family. (Image: Tu Clothing)

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Business

Aldi retains title of ‘UK’s cheapest supermarket’

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As Brits continue to look for ways to cut household costs, consumer group Which? has yet again named Aldi as the cheapest UK supermarket.

With savings of £12.62 compared to the average Big Four basket, Aldi says its shoppers can be confident they’re getting the best deal.

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Which? conducted its monthly Cheapest Supermarket price comparison and looked at the cost of a basket of 47 items, including groceries and household essentials, with Aldi coming in cheapest at just £74.23.

The same shopping cost a whopping £16.91 more at Morrisons and £12.54 more at Tesco.

The independent consumer group’s research also found Aldi to be a massive £25.23 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose, for an equivalent basket of items.

The full results of the research are as follows:

RankRetailerAverage £
1Aldi74.23
2Lidl75.61
3Asda83.22
4Sainsbury’s86.27
5Tesco86.77
6Morrisons91.14
7Ocado95.33
8Waitrose99.46

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “We know that across the nation many families are finding things tough due to the cost of living crisis. At Aldi, we’re determined to help by keeping costs low and quality high for our customers. We’re thrilled to yet again be named the UK’s cheapest supermarket.”

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(Lead image: Aldi)

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Carmarthenshire

Rare ‘Handkerchief Tree’ planted at Aberglasney to celebrate Platinum Jubilee

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To celebrate HRH The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Aberglasney Gardens has planted a rare Handkerchief Tree to commemorate the occasion.  

The Handkerchief (Davidia involucrata) tree is the first of its kind in the Gardens. It is a rare but highly sought-after tree, native to China. Also called the dove tree, it’s named after its beautiful white, flower-like bracts, which appear to flutter, like doves or handkerchiefs, in the slightest breeze. 

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According to Chinese legend, the handkerchief tree is the most romantic tree in China. It was introduced to the UK in the late 19th Century, by the famous plant collector named Ernest Wilson. He brought seeds back to the UK and his first tree flowered in 1906. 

Aberglasney’s Platinum Jubilee commemorative tree will be added to the Queen’s Green Canopy map, which is a digital record of the Jubilee tree planting projects across the United Kingdom.

Her Majesty and The Prince of Wales planted the first Jubilee tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle in March to mark the launch of the Queen’s Green Canopy.

With a focus on planting sustainably, the Queen’s Green Canopy Initiative encourages the planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations.  

Jim Stribling, Aberglasney’s Director of Operations, said, “The ethos of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative is perfectly in line with our views on planting here at Aberglasney. We choose additions to these established areas carefully. We feel the unique beauty of the handkerchief tree marks the special occasion that is the Platinum Jubilee as well as offering visitors to the Gardens an opportunity to see a rare species when they visit.” 

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Aberglasney’s Board of Trustees retiring Chairman, Peter Burgess, and newly elected Chairman, Phil Ratcliffe, helped the team of gardeners plant the tree. Helen Scutt, member of the Board of Trustees, as well as a well-known local garden designer and landscaper, chose the tree. 

Aberglasney’s woodlands were probably planted in the early 1800s, when improving landowners replenished the timber stocks of the estate.

The Jubilee Woodland Garden’s bog-like conditions mean ferns, gunneras, hostas and large-leaved bog plants thrive. The Pigeon House Wood is enclosed with ancient hedge banks and is carpeted in spring with bluebells, orchids, ramsons and wood anemones.  

(Lead image: Aberglasney Gardens)

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