Bike owners in Helensburgh are being urged to ensure their cycles are registered on a national database to protect against the threat of theft.

Police Scotland says bikes are more at risk now than at any other time of the year, with many brand new or used bikes having been given or received as Christmas presents.

They say it's vital that cyclists add their bike's details to the Bike Register database.

The database already contains the details of tens of thousands of bikes across the UK, and for the last year, Police Scotland has had access to the database via a downloadable app on their mobile devices.

Police say four bikes have been recovered from locations across Scotland recently as a result of the app and bike marking.

In the first instance, a member of the public in Edinburgh found a bicycle and used the app they had on their phone to establish it had been registered as lost.

The owner was found to have moved from the capital to Woking and was reunited with the bike.

Local officers in Lancashire also came across a stolen bike being sold on Facebook Marketplace in the course of their inquiries.

By utilising the app on their mobile devices, they confirmed it was registered to an address in the Currie area of Edinburgh. The bike was again returned to its rightful owner.

Any officer who locates a bike they believe may be lost or stolen can access the database via the app, and scan a visible barcode or enter property details to check to see if it has been registered.

If so, they can then find out whether the status is set to lost or stolen, and who the registered owner is.

Inspector Jordan Low from Police Scotland’s rural and acquisitive crime team said: “We know that for many in Scotland, bikes are not just an important recreational item - they are a vital mode of transportation or exercise, and to have them lost or stolen can be devastating.

“I would ask that all bike owners ensure their bicycles’ details are logged on the Bike Register database, as this will aid us during our inquiries whenever we locate any bikes that we believe to be stolen, or that are brought into police stations as lost property.

“The recent successful recoveries highlight just how important the database is in order to reunite bikes with their rightful owners and the app available to officers on their mobile device is another useful tool in helping us tackle bike theft across the country.”