GUARDIA CIVIL officers from Altea, swooped to arrest four men for the theft of top of the range road bikes in two separate operations last week.
The suspects, who live in Altea and Benidorm, were charged with stealing at least 40 bikes with a combined retail value of 95,000 euros.
The Guardia Civil, began the investigations following a spate of robberies targeting specialised bike shops in and around Altea in recent weeks, always involving the theft of high end merchandise.
The first arrest made, were of two well known drug addicts from Altea, aged 20 and 22, who had a history of robbery in the town and who police believe stole the bikes to fund their heroin addiction.
Guardia Civil officers surprised the thieves, catching them red-handed in possession of two bikes, after being alerted by the owner of the shop they were stolen from.
The two men were charged with stealing the two bikes, but also under investigation for the theft of 31 more with a total value of 35,000 euros.
Although the men were aware of the true value of the merchandise, they sold them on to third parties quickly for a fraction of their retail price. On one occasion the sold a bike valued at 3500 euros for just 70 euros.
After the arrests, the 22-year-old has been taken into custody and the 20-year-old has been released on probation.
In a separate operation, Guardia Civil officers, again from Altea, investigating the theft of bikes from businesses in the town, have arrested two British men from Benidorm.
The thieves targeted highly priced, top of the range road bikes and electric bikes all with retail values of around €60,000.
The officers discovered the thefts always occurred between 22.00h and 24.00h after the stores had closed for businesses.
However, it became apparent that the protagonists had already visited the shops during business hours to determine the levels of out of hours security and had also made threats of violence to an owner who caught them in the act of stealing one of his bikes.
He was able to report to the Guardia Civil that the thieves were travelling in a vehicle with a UK registration plate, helping to narrow down the investigation.
Officers swooped on a campsite in Benidorm, arresting two British men one aged 21 and the other 27 years of age.
They were arrested and charged with the robberies of at least 12 bikes with an estimated value in excess of sixty thousand euros and later released on the charges.