Miraculous story of how one Londoner recovered his stolen bike

Gumtree listing of stolen bike

If your bike gets stolen in London your chances of getting it back are pretty grim. You may have a quick look on Gumtree and eBay, report it to the police and then forget about it. However, this story of how Marc recovered his stolen brand new Charge bike should give others hope of recovering their bike, as well as some great tips to follow if you ever find yourself in the same situation.

It all started on Sunday near the Columbia Road flower market. In broad daylight, on a busy street, a brand new Charge Plug bike worth nearly £500 was stolen. It was secured at the time with an Abus D-lock worth £40 and an Abus coil cable.

On the dreadful moment of discovering the stolen bike, Marc was understandably devastated. Especially as the bike was only three weeks old and had been making the journey to work a real pleasure.

Marc refused to give up without a fight. His first port of call was to report it to the police. However, he was met with little support from the operator. He was also told it would take someone up to 72 hours to complete the report. [Editors side note here: You may find the Cycle Task Force far more supportive: cycletaskforce@met.police.uk]

During those 72 hours he knew the chances of finding the bike would be greatly reduced and therefore he took to the Brick Lane market to see if he could spot his bike being sold. Unfortunately, these efforts proved unfruitful.

He then started scouring both Gumtree and eBay but by the end of the day there was still no luck.

The next day Marc kept up the search and at 11pm just as he was about to switch off the laptop for the night an advert appeared for a Charge bike.

[Editors note: A great site to bookmark is Bikeshd which lists thousands of second hand bikes being sold in London – great for spotting your bike]

The images in the Gumtree listings were blurry, the description was vague and for some strange reason the bell had been moved from the left side of the handlebars to the right. However, Marc knew he had spotted his bike.

He called the police that night who gave him the number for the Criminal Investigation Department to call the next morning. Once again however the help from the police was uninspiring at best. The police advised that it would take at least a few days to get through the system and suggested going to the nearest police station to do the report in person.

Marc played along and went to report the crime. Later that day he received a call from the police and was told that there was nothing they could do. This was despite Marc providing the phone number of the seller, the pictures to prove it along with a frame number and receipt of purchase.

He was given the unofficial suggestion to meet the seller himself and call 999 if it was his bike. So that is exactly what he did.

Marc went along with a group of his friends to meet at Bounds Green Tube. A public space. They had previously agreed that if things turned nasty then they would walk away.

The moment the seller arrived it was this was the stolen bike. He asked if he could move the bike closer to the tube entrance to see it under the light. Once they had moved inside he explained that this was his bike and that the seller should give it up and walk away.

The seller said he had bought the bike for £150 near Brick Lane and would not be walking away.

This resulted in a mini tug-of-war with both parties holding on to the bike. 999 was called and it took the police an hour to arrive. The seller’s wife turned up only adding to the tension.

Eventually, after a nervous wait when the police arrived. Marc showed a picture of the bike receipt with the frame number written on there. He also had a crime report reference.

The police gave the seller two choices – go home and file a civil report or be arrested for handling stolen goods. He swiftly left and Marc then knew he had finally reclaimed his bike.

The police were just as surprised at the whole affair and one of them said “In all my years as a policeman I’ve never seen anyone get their stolen bike back.”

The next day there was a call from the friendly CID officer Marc had spoken to who had seen the updated crime report. He congratulated the efforts on retrieving the bike and apologised for not being able to do anything.

The story is an illustration of the lack of support the police show for bicycle theft. Despite Marc jumping through a number of hoops they were largely powerless to help. This isn’t the fault of the individual officers but clearly something about the system needs to be revised.

Would I recommend others take the same course of action? Things could have turned out differently so this is a personal decision each person will have to take for themselves.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

73 Responses to Miraculous story of how one Londoner recovered his stolen bike

  1. Balint 26/03/2012 at 9:33 am #

    The Cycle Task Force seemed to be pretty helpful, it’s a shame their existence isn’t well known enough within the organization…

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Just a quick update to the article here that confirms what you are saying Balint. Apparently Marc did mentioned the Cycle Task Force which the officer had never heard of. He got in touch with them but the timing was off as they were away doing a two day training.

  2. Karl Poe 26/03/2012 at 9:38 am #

    My friend’s bicycle got stolen and then she noticed it over a month later locked at a local tube station. She called the police, they came, cut the chain, and let her take the bike. Of course she had a police report number as well as immobilise registration number.

  3. oller 26/03/2012 at 9:46 am #

    My bike was stolen last Monday, it was sold on gumtree twice by Thursday (the first time before I even noticed it was missing). The second time, I got it back with the help of the City Police. The guy had cleaned it for me too!

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 9:50 am #

      Unbelievable – so did you receive far more attention from City Police than Marc in the story above?

      • oller 26/03/2012 at 10:13 am #

        I can’t speak highly enough of them, helped me look for CCTV cameras nearby and so on, until we hit a dead end.

        When I spotted the second gumtree ad, as I’d already registered the theft, I just gave them the link to the gumtree ad and told them that having text the seller myself he had a viewing/potential sale at 3pm. (I noticed the ad at 1pm)

        After a nervous wait, I got a call at 3:30pm, they had my bike and the seller had been arrested.

        As well as the City Police, I must credit bikeshd and the stolen bikes thread on lfgss as big factors in helping me recover my bike. My saving grace was that mine was very distinctive. In the case above, having a bell the wrong side may be a bit subtle, but ultimately it was enough, it was that, not the serial number that got the bike back. You want to be able to know that’s your from a crummy phone pic.

        If you’re unlucky enough to get your bike stolen, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to have it stolen in the square mile!

      • Big Softy 26/03/2012 at 12:41 pm #

        That’s because the City Police don’t have most of the inner city problems that plague the rest of the capital as they have a relatively low population of residents.
        I find they’re only too happy to take a break from white-collar crime and get stuck into some good old fashioned thieftaking.

        • oller 26/03/2012 at 1:59 pm #

          Agreed, any old fashioned lets-be-havin-you, they’re all over it!

  4. James 26/03/2012 at 10:03 am #

    The City of London police are more helpful than the Met in my experience. I caught a thief in the act right outside my shop in a busy street at 10am, no less than 6 police in three vehicles were there in 10 minutes! Guess there’s no real crime in the City, so they are excited about a real crook as opposed to doling out fines for littering. One officer also told me that he had spent the last three days staked out in a building on the corner watching a bike they had planted. If only they put as much effort in investigation of reported cycle theft instead of putting down their corned beef sarnies and dashing to deal with a thief that has already been apprehended!

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 2:50 pm #

      That’s impressive James – worth keeping in mind if you are in the catchment area of the city of London force.

    • Multi 24/05/2014 at 3:10 pm #

      No ‘real’ crime?!
      You do know millions are still struggling with financial cuts and squeezes thanks to the actions of a few in the square mile. NOT A SINGLE PERSON HAS SEEN THE INSIDE OF A CELL let alone police investigation.
      If I steal a loaf of bread or a bike, where do you think I’ll end up? What you meant to write is that there’s no desire for proper investigation.

    • mark 30/05/2014 at 5:13 pm #

      I had my eddy mercx stolen at xmas filed a report , just 2 days ago spotted it at my local police auction, had it withdrawn only to be told i would not get it back,TWICE STOLEN NOW once by the first offender and secondly by the police, but i can buy it back at the next police auction i despise the police and have an intense feeling of injustice

      • Alehouse Rock 31/05/2014 at 3:43 am #

        [[[[[[[ MARK—that is a horrendous situation to find yourself in, and you have my sympathy—it’s Kafka-esque!!! Why don’t you write to the police for a written explanation, and then take whatever gobble-de-gook they come up with straight to a CITIZEN’S ADVICE BUREAU, who might be able to help.
        A.R.

  5. Ray 26/03/2012 at 10:35 am #

    I was standing next to my bike,with my back to it,outside a grocers.
    Suddenly someone jumped on it and rode off. I chased them,just missed a grab.
    I rang round second hand shops etc.
    Next day I went round them, outside one(the owner of which had seemed helpful and concerned when I rang) was my bike !
    I took it,then rang the police, who I had already reported it to. They did,nt follow it up.

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 2:49 pm #

      At least you got the bike back. Good effort in visiting the local second hand bike shops.

  6. alua 26/03/2012 at 11:51 am #

    I’m not sure whether to feel upset (Marc essentially having to do this without getting real help from the police) or happy (other people having gotten more assistance in reclaiming their stolen bikes).

    Well, I’m glad Marc got his back, but it’s also depressing to know he got his bike stolen in the broad daylight, with two locks in what must have been a very busy area (and thus people must have witnessed the theft to start with).

    I have two D-locks (including a New York Kryptonite), maybe I should get a third lock now! I don’t think I could go through the path Marc did to reclaim his bike, most of all because I wouldn’t be able to get a group of friends to go along (that requires everyone’s free/conveniently nearby, etc.) and by myself I’m just too small to stand my ground!

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 2:33 pm #

      I don’t think a third lock is a necessity. As long as you’ve got your Kryptonite and secondary lock you should be fine. As you mentioned – I’d never go along to something like this on my own!

  7. Duncan 26/03/2012 at 1:42 pm #

    So, is **** the guy who nicked the bike? His name and number are at the bottom of the photo.

    • Andreas 26/03/2012 at 2:31 pm #

      Oooops I missed that – not meant to be on the picture. Thanks for point out.

      • Jamie Kitson 26/03/2012 at 4:50 pm #

        It’s still cached by Google, so it’s easy enough to get his name and number still… wonder if he’s got any more cheap bikes… ;)

        • Jamie Kitson 26/03/2012 at 4:51 pm #

          In fact if you google his mobile number it seems that he’s sold a couple of bikes previously.

  8. dan 26/03/2012 at 3:18 pm #

    No way I’d fight those guys on bricklane… scary bunch of people!

    Still so surprised that stolen bikes are stolen down brick lane… surely it wouldn’t take much to move the trade on?

    • Andreas 27/03/2012 at 9:48 am #

      Apparently it was moved on for a while and they moved up to Columbia Road I believe. Old habits die hard though and they were soon back on Brick Lane. I wouldn’t have the nerve to sell a stolen bike down there – I’d assume Cycle Task Force always have a couple of people in the area.

  9. Rob 26/03/2012 at 3:28 pm #

    About 18 months ago my girlfriend bought (from Evans) a pink single speed bike. We went for a ride and met at Brick Lane, she decided to pop into a cafe to use the bathroom. Whilst holding her bike, 3 plainclothes swooped upon me, accusing me of stealing the bike (I seem to frequently attract this kind of attention)! But the point is that the police seem to at least take prevention seriously, and arresting sellers. Perhaps more so than individual cases? I can’t say.

    • Andreas 27/03/2012 at 9:49 am #

      Haha must of been weird when your girlfriend came out and thought what the hell has my boyfriend done!

  10. Harry 26/03/2012 at 6:45 pm #

    This exact same thing happened to me.

    My bike was stolen, I reported it to police, they suggested (off the record) that if I saw my bike – I should reclaim it personally. After endless market searches and online, I found my prized possession on gumtree a week later, so my 6’6″ mate who was over from Australia and myself 6’5″ decided to set-up a meeting as after numerous calls to both the Police and the Cycle Task Force, they proved uninterested and even suggested I give up – at their best they suggested to set up a meeting a fortnight later with the thief at which point no doubt he would have offloaded it.

    As I imported the bike myself and it was the only one of it’s kind in the country, I had no doubt it was mine. The thief had kindly gone to detailing all the stickers, lights (working and not) – I was 100% sure.

    I called the police again – uninterested again

    I called when I was at the meeting point, just to see if there happened to be an officer nearby – again no interest – apparently there were only two police officers on duty in Hackney that weekend. They did say I could call 999 but I would have to wait a similar two week time frame!

    The lad finally turned up with my bike – he came out of his house – about 100m from where it was stolen. He was on his own.

    The ensuing conversation went something like this.

    Nice bike, tell me a little about it
    It’s a carbon frame
    No it’s not, it’s lightweight aluminium
    Do you like it?
    Is it your bike
    Yes
    No it’s mine
    So you like it
    No, it’s my bike
    So, you’ll take it
    Yes, I’ll take it because it’s my bike
    What do you mean
    I mean, I own the bike you’ve stolen and I’m taking it back
    At which point, he starting screaming that we’d stolen his bike (the cheek)
    We then called 999 and asked if he would like to prove to the piolice that he owned my bike
    He declined after trying to take it back by force and then wandered calmly back into his house. The entire time, his friends were calling me from his mobile so I was aware he had back-up – luckily they didn’t show up.

    No suprise he was so laid back as after I reported the bike was in my pocession to the Police, a couple of days later, the Police sent me a letter stating there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a case. I had his name, mobile number, address, gumtree advert with email, telephone number, stolen bike with prints, receipts of ownership, maintenance, photos – what further evidience do the Police require – his mother’s maiden name!? No wander people are so disheartened by the Metropolitan Police and Boris Johnson’s non-existent Cycle task force!

    If you bike gets stolen, you’re probably best off taking the Police’s (off the record) advice and going round with a debt collector, or alike! I of course wouldn’t recommend this – however the Police did and in my case it worked out!

    • Vladimir 30/03/2012 at 1:04 pm #

      there was an old thread in here to which I wrote out a long winded answer. I’ll give you the short version:
      -cheap rusty bike locked up to expensive bike (not my mistake, let’s face it)
      -incident reported to the police
      -police advise to chop the lock off and liberate expensive bike
      -expensive bike liberated
      -police don’t give a S***

      inconvenient, but at least the expensive bike wasn’t taken at night (which let’s face it, it would have been if left overnight).

      bottom line, police are performing poorly in this regard all round.

  11. David Waddell 26/03/2012 at 7:11 pm #

    I was very lucky to get mine back once. About a week after it was stolen, I saw someone on it in the same neighbourhood. He was loitering with his mates.

    Well there was only one of me, so I called the police, desperately nervous the guy would cycle off in the meantime.

    I was waiting around nearby for the promised local policeman to turn up. He eventually showed and we walked past the boys. As I walked past the stolen item I swiftly turned, grabbed the handlebars and said “this is my bike, I want it back”

    The guy immediately jumped off and said “I was only looking after it”.

    Obviously there wasn’t much we could do. As far as the Pc was concerned it was case solved. But I’d love to have prosecuted.

    • Andreas 27/03/2012 at 9:52 am #

      Can’t believe these stories keep coming out. The police really should answer for why they are not doing more to prosecute criminals committing crime like this. Surely it would prevent them to moving on to more severe crimes?

      • Howard 30/03/2012 at 11:06 am #

        Low level crime that results in loads of paperwork and no glory. Requires more resources. If you prosecute and win, you then have to do something – you can’t fine these people because they have no money (or they hide it), you can’t imprison them because there isn’t enough space and they’ll just come out worse, and getting them to do community service is expensive.

        I can see why they can’t do much and aren’t interested in pushing it. They are fighting the symptoms of a culture of thievery – doesn’t make it right though.

        • Phil Russell 31/03/2012 at 3:00 am #

          [[[[[[[[[ Yes, Howard, no arguing with the points you’ve made, but I suspect the police response would be rather more robust regarding the theft of a motor vehicle, even an old’un. Funny that, isn’t it.
          P.R.

        • Phil Russell 31/03/2012 at 3:07 am #

          Oh yeah? Get caught stealing £400 in cash…the police would jump on you like a ton of bricks.
          P.R.

        • Dunc 31/03/2012 at 11:14 am #

          Bricks can jump?

        • Multi 24/05/2014 at 3:16 pm #

          You can imprison them. If it turn out that there are 15 to cell and they have to spend at least 48hrs in there they will not want to go back. Simple.

  12. Bart 27/03/2012 at 9:36 pm #

    We had a couple of bikes stolen out of our shed. The police found one of them back in somebody’s house. After taking statements, fingerprints, serial numbers and what not I got a call that CPS was dropping the case “due to lack of evidence”. The police man was very upset about that. That was in the Hammersmith police station. I got the bike back, at least,

  13. James L 28/03/2012 at 11:31 am #

    I got my bike bike after finding it on ebay 1 month later. Police basically helpful if a little slow. One thing they did say though, do not in any circumstances go and try and retrieve the bike myself, as I could be arrested myself! The guy was let off without charge, saying he bought it in good faith. Probably why so many bikes are stolen, you don’t get in trouble for doing it!

    • Andreas 30/03/2012 at 11:02 am #

      I guess the police know that if this goes to court the person will get away with it or they’ll get a very light sentence.

  14. Tom 30/03/2012 at 11:14 am #

    I had by bike stolen while having lunch near Cambridge Heath in London. On route to the police station i was politely ‘pinging’ by a cyclist on the pavement behind me only to find someone cycling past me on my bike…..

    after a brief chase around a slightly dodgy part of town I caught up with the bike and explained that it was mine. Having no serial number noted (and being in a not so safe part of town) i decided just to pay the guy for the bike (he claimed he had just bought it) an amount smaller than my insurance excess.

    Having now told to tale to a number of fiends this seems to be a common way of getting back stolen bikes in London

    • Phil Russell 16/05/2013 at 12:59 am #

      [[[[[ TOM “told to tale to a number of fiends…” wassat??? Also, I think he saw you coming, or rather going…
      P.R.

  15. liz 30/03/2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Just had one of my bikes stolen in Kent, locked with a krptonite lock. police totally uninterested and i’m not holding out much luck of a happy outcome. only consolation is it insured. Am in the process of claiming.Its thankss to Andreas advice about ETA who have been very helpful.

    • Rhian 05/04/2012 at 2:50 pm #

      I have also had my bike stolen (last night in Dalston….after a horrid shift at work!) It was locked up securely with a cable lock and a Kryptonite D Lock. Reported to police…waiting for the call back…now going through the claim process with ETA, who have been very helpful (thanks Andreas). my bike was registered with the police and on immobilise…so going to flag it up as stolen now. I had a good 2 year run without it beng nicked!

      • Andreas 15/05/2012 at 4:32 pm #

        Pleased to hear these two positive stories about ETA. That’s why I only recommend services/products I personally use.

  16. Andy 30/03/2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Last year I actually caught a would-be thief in my shed after I heard him breaking the lock. The police advised that I let him go in case I was accused of false imprisonment! Six weeks later the shed was broken into while we were away and all my tools were taken (the bikes were in the house). The police eventually turned up but pretty much closed the case straight away… The last time I had a bike taken it had been locked up outside a police station right under their CCTV. The desk sergeant’s response was to say that several officers had had their bikes taken from those Sheffield stands so they kept them either in the car park or in a cell if one was available! I don’t know if he was joking – he certainly thought I was when I suggested that they check the CCTV.

  17. tony d 31/03/2012 at 4:40 pm #

    i got my bike back!
    some years ago i had my bike stolen out of my garden in harlesden when i left the side gate open for a minute. i knew the police would be useless so i borrowed another bike from a friend and cruised around the neighbourhood on the lookout and asking local kids if they’d seen it. i told all the kids i met that there would be a reward for whoever found my bike and that there would be no police involvement. the next day i got an address of an accomplice -whose dad was not impressed -and he gave up the name of the thief. i went round to his house and got my bike back from his mum who couldn’t explain why her son kept coming home with different bikes.
    if local kids know that the police won’t be involved you can get them on your side. they don’t like having a bike thief around either!

  18. Paul 01/04/2012 at 9:59 am #

    Mine got returned and I hadn’t even bothered reporting it stolen!!!

    a few years ago I had bought a Raleigh Tundra (brief pause for sniggers from the hardened cyclists) for about £150 brand new.

    I had it locked behind work and came back from the pub to find it nicked. I didn’t have it insured due to the low value so just wrote it off as one of those things and didn’t bother reporting it stolen

    about 3 months later I got a call form the local copshop outside Plymouth asking me if i’d lost anything.

    Turns out the PC in question had nicked some scrote for low level crime. He thought the bike looked a bit too new. He rang raleigh with the frame number to find out who sold the bike, then rang the bike shop, got my credit card details, then rang the bank for my contact details

    full marks or what!??? I still have the bike to this day.

    best to all.

  19. jay 01/04/2012 at 10:06 pm #

    im not sure if this is the same bike i’ve seen today parked stoke newington
    this afternoon.. infront of the boot sale in a primary school grounds.. :-)

  20. Barton 05/04/2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Here in Mpls, the police are just as non-helpful. When my bike was stolen last summer (d-lock, CCTV, restricted access garage) the first thing the dispatcher said was “Is your bike worth at least $1000?” No police would come out, and as the bike was over 15 years old, the police report I filed kept gettin rejected (something about the serial #s being in the wrong format – after 15 years and seven moves, I was happy to even have the serial #s written down somewhere I could find them!).

    Security at my building was not much more helpful, granted, they take no responsibility, and I am aware of that. I did get to see the CCTV of someone riding in a crappy, rusty bike, settling it next to mine on the (personally assigned and paid for) bike rack, seemingly fiddle with his own lock with some sort of Dremel-like device, then ride off on my bike. Needless to say, my beloved Schwinn was never seen again, though I went to every local bike and pawn shop, and reviewed the ads on ebay and craigslist.

    Now, the Minneapolis Police hold a bike auction every month or so. They sell the bikes they have recovered but cannot identify clear ownership to after 30 days. I will be going next month in hopes of scoring of one the Surly’s they have available in my size (usually for 1/5 of the cost of new). So, the police don’t do much to help you report your stolen bike, or really help you recover it, but they are more than happy to make a profit off the bikes they have recovered. Sad. And yes, I am taking advantage of someone else’s loss, I know….

  21. Michael 13/04/2012 at 10:26 am #

    Unfortunately, bike theft is not classed as a priority in the UK and bike thieves know this. It is just too easy for them. On a “positive” note…I actually caught someone trying to ride off with my bike only a few days ago. All they could say when I confronted them was “is this your bike”. I got my bike back but it was randon chance..

  22. Veronica 16/04/2012 at 11:43 am #

    I know some people have said handing over cash was the only option to get their bike back, but aren’t you adding fuel to the fire? If the victim is the one who loses out in the end, then bike crimes will never decrease.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m really inspired by everyone’s stories and, to be honest, I’m scared for my bike whenever I ride it out, so reading this gives me some small hope.

    However, I’m not sure if I’d want to pay to get my bike back.

    • Phil Russell 17/04/2012 at 12:59 am #

      Veronica……terrible that you are scared to take your bike out. I worry too, so I D-lock my back wheel and frame to a bike-rack or whatever, and then drop out my front wheel and take it away with me, into shops etc…..they never mind. Why should they? Shops want your dosh. Of course, a determined thief might come along with a front wheel of his own, but most will pass by and look for a bike they can ride off on straight away. Do you have a quick-release saddle? You could take that off as well, which would be a bit of a faff, but better than returning to find no bike at all….
      P.R.

  23. charlie cheesecake 05/06/2012 at 10:46 pm #

    With all the cyclists in London and environs, many having had decent cycles previously pinched, wouldn’t it be easy using twitter or other media to ‘back up’ a fellow cyclist to claim back stolen property if it is universally advertised ?
    If the police are uninterested or otherwise unable to help, then the cyclist’s brethren should be able to gather together and secure a cycle until it’s owner can be verified.
    If a mass of cyclists descended on one place, I’m sure the police’s interest would be jump-started to try to resolve the situation.

  24. Julia 15/07/2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories!

    I had the same situation: my bike was stolen and 2 months later I found it on GUMTREE. I followed your advice – I called that person, arranged the viewing and after I had a trial I chained the bike to a barrier. Then I told the guy that the bike was mine and he had two options: call the police or give me my bike. I got my bike, all went well.

    And yes, when I called the police before meeting the seller, they advised me not to approach him if he shows up but when I called them after I saw him with my bike they said this was not their priority at that moment. An officer called me later when I was already celebrating my bike’s return with my friends who was helping me to make it all happen.

    • Sue 24/08/2012 at 1:07 am #

      Julia, am thinking of doing exactly what you did as I have just spotted my stolen bike on Gumtree. But am a bit wary and assume that I will need to find big tall people to
      come with me! Or did you just go armed with a good lock?

      • Julia 27/08/2012 at 11:35 pm #

        Hi Sue,

        I had a very good lock but I also took 3 very big friends with me :). Their presence definitely shortened the conversation with the guy and he didn’t try to argue with me. In any case, you need witnesses. The location is important too: tube stations, public places with lots of small shops are the best. Some streets like Carnaby street have their own security + a local police station across the road.

        Good luck & I hope you’ll get your bike back very soon :)!

  25. nicole 20/08/2012 at 3:23 pm #

    what if you pay for the bike, and cctv can tell that you didnt stall it, u payed for it to the owner of the bike, and then after that they report is as stolen? …

    everytime i think of it, im paying my money and then accusing us that we stall it, fuck, whoever that indian guy from leyton, wait for your karma, and be ready for the compensation, cctv cant tell alie, stupid moron!

  26. Mat 28/08/2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Hey all,

    My bike got ripped off from a relatively safe location in Hackney on Sunday afternoon/evening, have mailed the Cycle Task Force and started monitoring gumtree, ebay, and bikeshed – any other advice?

    It’s a very distinctive looking Specialized hybrid as it is XL (62cm frame), it has an unusual metal-flecked dark brown ‘root beer’ finish, plus is covered in paintwork scrapes and has replacement front forks and other repairs/mods/tinkerings as I had to rebuild it myself after it got crushed underneath a taxi in a crash a few years back – as you can imagine this makes the experience infinitely more frustrating, if it was just some random bike I’d store-bought and cycled around on a bit I wouldn’t be nearly as upset!

    Any advice welcomed, thanks!

  27. Stolen Ride 29/09/2012 at 12:53 pm #

    We are the new Twitter community for stolen bikes in London. Helping people track down their stolen rides. Come join us on Twitter or Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/stolenride

  28. Pete Laffan 05/12/2012 at 8:25 pm #

    What? The police actually didn’t help? This can’t be true. I live in Keighley and the Keighstone Kops are just the same. I’m surpriesd they didn’t arrest you for trying to sort it out yourself!

  29. SteveP 15/05/2013 at 11:12 am #

    It’s pretty obvious the “system” here in the UK is too busy with “big stuff” to bother dealing with the “little stuff” like theft and burglary. Cops don’t want to know about your stolen mobile or bike and won’t even attend if you are burgled. Yet they dissuade citizens from taking “vigilante” action! Is that Catch 23?

    Years ago, New York City reduced its major crime problem by following the “broken window theory” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory) and prosecuting all levels of crime vigorously. The result was an overall reduction in all crimes.

    The refusal of police and prosecutors to act in the prevention of “petty” theft sends a message to thieves that these actions are low-risk and will be tolerated. The thieves (not being the brightest to begin with) lack the ability to determine where “petty” begins and ends so (in theory at least) graduate on to smash & grabs or even armed robberies. I mean, if it’s “OK” to steal a bike, why not a Rolex? Off your wrist.

    BTW – how did the thief defeat the Abus D-Lock?

  30. Phil Russell 16/05/2013 at 1:18 am #

    [[[[ SteveP—-The Police “Cycle Task Force” are supposed to be quite conscientious, alledgedly….but one legal eagle, holding forth on this very thread, says the police have difficulty convincing the Crown Procecution Service bods, that the oik in possession of a stolen bike actually intended to PERMANENTLY deprive the rightful owner of the bike.
    I’m damn sure they’d have no such difficulty if the stolen vehicle were a car….ain’t that funny?
    P.R.

  31. Clive 18/09/2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Hi all, so I’m going through a similar situation, my giant trance x3 was nicked recently from my sister in laws house, the b**tards un bolted the whole bike rack it was double locked to!
    Anyway after the usual filing a report with the police over the phone and being given a crime ref no nothing else was ever done about it. (This is where it gets weird!)
    After posting it on loads of stolen bike sites like stolen bikes UK and loads of Facebook pages and groups about a month goes by and I’ve given up all hope after spending every day on gumtree and ebay and bikeshd, I get an email from the stolen bikes UK site, someone has info about my bike! After the initial excitement I click on the link he provided….. It takes me to a foreign site, latvia of all places!!
    It turns out this guy was searching to buy a bike in latvia and saw my bike on a selling site they have, he starts to Google specs of my forks which have had custom work done and came across my stolen bike report on the site and emailed me to let me know.
    Well as you can imagine I’m heartbroken that it’s ended up in latvia! I get in touch with the met to tell them about it and as usual they take some details and say not much they can do and I’ve no hope of getting it back, SOD THIS I think to myself, I take it upon myself to find contacts for the latvian state police and send off a load of emails to every email address I can find. To my surprise one of the emails I sent gets a reply! The latvian police are willing to help out to try get my bike back and go as far as giving me the mobile no of the chief of police for the town my bike is in and all they need is someone from the met to get in touch with them to liase.
    Well I spend two days ringing the crime management unit which no one ever answers the phone and in complete and utter desperation I email the met cycle task force with a explanation that I’ve done all the leg work and they just need to speak to the latvian chief, I got a call this afternoon from the task force who ask me to forward on all the emails between myself and the person at the state police I have been in contact with, did all that so now I am just waiting to hear an outcome.
    It’s crazy that I had to literally do the police’s job for them and i’m still not sure if I’ll definitely get it back! But what are the odds that I even managed to find it in the first place especially it being in latvia!
    I will let you know the outcome of this all when I hear something.
    Oh and the guy who has my bike in latvia also had a few other high end bikes for sale which I can assume were stolen in the UK and sent there to be sold here’s a link to the site and ad for my bike http://www.ss.lv/msg/lv/transport/bycycles/mountain/bpnle.html
    The only thing I’m worried about is I didn’t take note of the frame number like a prat when I bought the frame, however I built the bike myself so it’s spec is one of a kind and I can tell them where every dink and scratch is as well as having an over excessive photo documentation of the bike and paypal receipts for the frame purchase and all the parts I bought for the build, i’m wondering if that will be enough to prove its mine?

    • clive 25/09/2013 at 6:39 pm #

      that link doesn’t work anymore unfortuately but a bit of good news (i think) the met cycle task force rang me today to say from what they could gather from the broken english of the latvian police they could possibly have my bike in possesion! waiting to have it confirmed tomorrow but if i do get it back i’ll be over the moon, what were the chances of getting it back from LATVIA!

    • Clive 24/02/2014 at 11:46 am #

      I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!! The met cycle task force with help from interpol and Latvian police have managed to get my bike back to London and I’m being reunited with it TOMORROW!! :) keep an eye on cycle task forces twitter feed as they want to take a photo to tweet out about the good work they do.

      • Clive 24/02/2014 at 11:49 am #

        **edit ** i think it will be the met police or tfl twitter feeds, I don’t believe cycle task force a has a twitter account

        • Tarek 07/03/2014 at 4:56 pm #

          did you get it all back in 1 piece?
          well done btw. what happened to the thief in Latvia?

  32. Clive 07/03/2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Yes I did get it back!! :) the cycle task force lady dealing with it even delivered it to me! Keep an eye on the tfl safer transport twitter feed, the met police PR dept want to take my photo with the bike for their ‘good work’ promotion stuff.
    Unfortunately the guy in Latvia got no punishment neither did the guy from here that sent it over there. He apparently bought my bike from, firstly, brick lane market, and and then he changed his story and bought it at Northolt market for £200 (even though it’s worth just under a grand) and he sent it to his nephew in Latvia to sell???!!!?? Sounds a plausible story right?
    Oh well at the end of the day all that matters is I got my prize possession back! Glad I didn’t just sit back and accept it had been stolen and just left it though!

    • Tarek 08/03/2014 at 1:24 am #

      yea that’s proper dodgy and clearly BS lol
      shame the met police are taking the credit for this though since you did all the leg work for them and they barely lifted a finger. At least it’s a glimmer of hope and hopefully others can draw some inspiration from your story. I for one applaud your perseverance and glad you got it back!
      PS: that’s a nice ride you got there :)

  33. Clive 08/03/2014 at 1:58 am #

    Thanks and Yes hopefully if someone does have a bike nicked they might not give in so easily if they see this story.
    It really does pay to post a stolen bike ad on every single bike forum you can find! LOL
    Do you mean the bike on that link? For some reason that link is for a different bike now after mine was removed from that site.
    This is my ride in its current form https://www.dropbox.com/s/gwx1r9jaw1g49r2/DSC_0892.JPG

  34. Tarek 08/03/2014 at 2:14 am #

    yours ain’t too shabby either lol… i had a bike nicked as a kid and although reported the police never did anything about it.. looking to buy a new one soon so will be sure to document it properly in case it does get stolen and i need proof of ownership
    having read through some comments from this site i’m now put off a bit from buying a second hand bike

  35. Alehouse Rock 31/05/2014 at 3:31 am #

    [[[[[[ I wonder why it is that used-bike ads are not required to include the FRAME-NUMBER of the bike advertised….not a new idea, but it would obviously make things much more difficult for the scurvy rats selling them. How say you, ANDREAS?
    A.R.

  36. Matt 13/06/2014 at 3:05 pm #

    Another good luck story on recovering a bike.

    My bike was stolen from out the front of my block of flats last week, i had locked it up there for 2 years, no problems, until last Wednesday I went to ride to work and it was gone. I was devastated as i had had the bike for 12 years, even bringing it over from Australia when i moved here 8 years ago.

    Like others, i reported it to the police, but assumed i would never see it again. my bike was registered with the police and i had a copy of the registration number. my partner and i joked that the thief (or whoever bought the bike subsequently) would have a fun time with the bike until they got a puncture, as i had pin locks on my wheels, so they could not get the wheels off, unless they wanted to cut them off. we laughed about it for a few minutes, mainly as consolation, and then moved on. i too looked on bikeshed, ebay, gumtree etc for a few days, but nothing. i bought a new bike last sunday.

    today about 1.30pm i got a call from my local bike shop, where i regularly took my stolen bike to get serviced etc. one of the guys working there (let’s call him Brian) had just been to visit another bike shop around the corner, and amazingly noticed my bike there. someone had bought it in to fix a flat tire on the back wheel. Brian noticed my bike because last time i took it in i got new grips and seat (good memory!) and he was also wondering why i wasn’t taking it to his shop! Brian then spoke to the guy at the other bike shop and realised that they couldn’t change the tire because of the pin locks. They then pieced it all together and realised that it was indeed my bike and not the guy’s who had bought it in. Brian looked up my bike on their computer system, got my number, and called me. Luckily I was working at home today, so i was at the bike shop within minutes and lo and behold i was looking at my bike. I obviously knew it was mine, but took the registration number and pin head key, which both matched.

    but the guy was coming back to get ‘his’ bike in half an hour, supposedly after the puncture had been fixed. i called the police on 101 and they were really great, within 5 minutes or so a local constable turned up. he checked my registration number with the bike, and after i showed him i could unlock the wheel, he said the bike was mine to take. we then waited for the ‘owner’ to turn up, who got quite the shock with the police and me waiting there with ‘my’ bike. his story was a bit dodgy, apparently he found the bike with the flat tire and was getting it fixed to return to my estate – it all seemed to check out actually according to the police and nothing further will happen, but in any case, just happy to have the bike back!

    now for me friday the 13th will always be a lucky day.

    except, what to do with the new bike?!?

  37. Alehouse Rock 18/06/2014 at 12:56 am #

    [[[[[ MATT—you say his story was “a BIT dodgy”??? He told the police he had “found the bike”….and was “having it repaired, in order to take it back to the estate where he found it”!! And the plods accepted that tale? And whatever happened to the charge of “Stealing By Finding”? The mind boggles.

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