Crooks have stolen or damaged 65 per cent of the Santander hire bicycles in Milton Keynes

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Almost two thirds of the city’s Santander hire bikes have ended up damaged or stolen, a new report has revealed.

The feel-good scheme has suffered three times the amount of theft and abuse in MK than anywhere else in the country.

Since it launched, police are dealing with a 38 per cent increase in bike theft.

The Santander scheme alone has a damage/theft rate of a massive 65 per cent.

In other parts of the counthis rate is 20 per cent.

Already vandals have caused more than £200,000 of damage to the distinctive red bikes that are parked at pick up points all over MK for people to borrow and enjoy.

Earlier this summer the organisers revealed they were considering scrapping the scheme because the “extensive and deliberate damage” was so bad.

This month the abuse has been reflected in MK’s crime figures for the past year, published in the community foundation’s Vital Signs report.

It shows the city’s overall crime rate has risen by 14 per cent, with 71.63 offences reported per 1,000 residents. This compares to the national figure of 62.89 per 1,000 people.

There has been a 14 per cent increase in reported sexual offences in MK and a 5.6 per cent increase in victim based crime.

The Vital Signs report is published on