James Daley: A policeman once told me that a determined thief will get through any type of lock

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My mountain bike was nicked from outside my front door last month – a discovery I only made when I stumbled back home after a late Friday night out. Perhaps because I'd had a few drinks – or perhaps because I've had so many bikes stolen in the past – I was relatively philosophical about the whole event. After all, it had been more than three years since the last one was pinched – not bad by London's standards – and though I could feel a burning anger somewhere inside me, this was somewhat offset by the excitement that this time I was insured. Time to buy a new set of wheels!

Before I got too carried away with the thought of new bikes, however, I decided that this time I'd take the issue of cycle security a bit more seriously.

Although the thieves had cut through my £30 cable lock, they'd not touched my wife's bike, which is just as expensive, but was only protected by a £15 D-lock. One hard blow with a hammer could probably have done it – but we'd been lucky. I decided not to test our luck again.

The problem with buying a lock is that I never know where to start. I remember a policeman once telling me that a determined thief will get through anything – and if that's really true, is there any point in spending £90 on a lock? Maybe this time I needed to think a bit more laterally.

I keep my bike chained up on a communal third-floor balcony in my block of flats, which is quite visible from the street below, and very close to the front doors of several neighbours.

If I could just find a lock with an alarm that went off when it was tampered with, surely that would be enough to scare off any opportunistic thieves.

It turns out, such locks really do exist. SG Locks ( sglocks.co.uk) sells alarmed D-locks from as little as £25 – which make a hell of a noise if anyone tries to tamper with them.

I've also picked up one of those massive Abus motorcycle locks, which weigh a ton and which would take some serious effort to get through.

As far as I can see, protecting your bicycle seems to be a battle of wits between you and the bike thieves these days. Well, I've learnt my lesson and upped my game. If they manage to break through the Fort Knox I've built this time round, I'll be very impressed.