The Shepparton police property shed is a treasure trove of items.
Stacked against a wall near the door are some rugs and on the ground there is an old television, but taking up almost half the shed are the most eye-catching of the items — bicycles.
These bikes are a mix of old and new and vary in size, some are hybrids while others are mountain bikes and some appear to be extremely old.
Police hold found items such as these bikes for three months and if they have not been returned to their owners by then, they may be donated to charities or community groups.
Often there are about 20 bikes stored at Shepparton Police Station, but this number increases during spring and summer when people feel more motivated to pull their bikes out of the shed and start riding.
‘‘Usually in the lead-up to Christmas that’s when we peak with our influx of bikes,’’ Shepparton police property manager Belinda Ross said.
‘‘A lot of them are found by members of the public, sitting on the street somewhere. Our members will go collect it and obviously we try to reunite it with its owner.’’
Sometimes the police are lucky and manage to arrange a happy reunion but other times the bike is never collected by its original owner.
Ms Ross said social media had helped many people regain their lost bike.
‘‘We find a lot of people don’t come in and say, ‘My bike has gone missing’,’’ she said.
‘‘The owners may not think to come in and get them if they’ve been taken out of a yard, but I guess the first thing is for them to come in and report and then if we do have something we can match it up.’’
A bike can easily be returned to the owner if they can prove ownership.
Ms Ross said some people might have their driver’s licence number engraved on their bike. They might know its serial number or be aware of any dents or marks on it.
In many cases, having photos of your bike is also a good way of proving that it is yours.
As for securing your bike, it is important to secure it to something with a lock if you are not going to store it in your own shed.
Ms Ross said it was important for people to come in and fill out a lost property report if they believed their bike was stolen.
‘‘If they know it has been stolen from a property they can come in and do a theft report or they can just give us a call at the police station and we can do a check if they can give us some descriptions. We can have a look and see if we’ve got it,’’ she said.
‘‘Usually when we return things to people they will say, ‘Oh I didn’t really think someone would hand it in’, but there are honest people out there, there’s a lot more honest than dishonest.’’
Most found bikes are in a good condition when they arrive at Shepparton Police Station so if they are not claimed they go to bike programs run by organisations such as Shepparton Ethnic Council and then are passed on to people who might benefit from them.
‘‘It would be ideal if we could return them to their owners. If not, they go to a worthwhile cause,’’ Ms Ross said.
‘‘If we can assist the community in some way I think that’s (more) beneficial than sending them to Melbourne to auction.’’
If you have lost your bike or believe it may have been stolen, phone Shepparton police on 58205777 or drop into the police station at 155 Welsford St, Shepparton.