St Albans City has topped a list of more than a 1,000 train stations across the UK for the number of bike thefts in the last three years.

The city station, which has 1,150 cycling spaces, recorded 262 bike thefts in the last three financial years - 74 more than the second-ranked station.

However, in 2018 this equated to one theft per every 100,000 visitors.

Jason Wills, 50, from St Albans, had his bike stolen from St Albans City station in October 2018. He started cycling to raise money for charities supporting his diabetic daughter.

Father-of-two Mr Wills, who works in marketing, commutes to London two or three days a week and cycles three miles to the station from his home.

He locked his hybrid bike at the station on 22 October last year and returned later that evening to find it had gone.

He said: "I was emotionally attached to it because it was a present from my wife and that bike had been to Paris and done Nightrider [an after-dark charity ride in London] three times.

"My space had been violated. I used the bike to raise quite a lot of money for charity to help my daughter and it was ripped from me."

Elsewhere in the area, Harpenden ranks 12th with 116 stolen bikes - there was an increase of 17 between 2017/18 to 18/19 to 48.

St Albans Abbey recorded 12 bike thefts, there were 8 in Radlett, while Bricket Wood, on the Abbey Line recorded a single bike theft.

A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs St Albans City station, said: "We have been hugely successful at St Albans, which is relatively small and yet has the second most bike racks for any station in the country.

"As a percentage of the number of people travelling through St Albans, the rate of bike theft is low - it ranks 213 in the list for bicycle theft."

He said the company planned to create more secure cycle facilities with improved lighting and CCTV as part of a £5m upgrade.

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "Unfortunately, bicycles remain a popular target for opportunistic thieves.

"To help prevent crime, we urge cyclists to invest in good quality D-locks and ensure their bikes are securely marked and registered at"