So, I mentioned my bike getting nicked. Here’s the comical story.
After a hard day slaving in front of a hot computer (very hot, it was our old offices and there was no air con), I meandered outside to my bike, which lived out of sight behind a wall, chained to a fence. Only my bike wasn’t there, and my heavy duty, insurance improved cable lock was in bits. Well, shit.
With a growing sense of rage and shock, I bimbled to the police station, the remains of my lock curled up in my bike helmet like an injured animal. I recounted my tale of woe, described my bike, and went on my way with my crime number.
Each day I checked eBay and Gumtree for my bike, and each day – nada.
That was until five days later,
I’d registered my details on www.stolen-bikes.co.uk, and used their excellent ‘Find that Bike!’ feature, which collects bike sale ads from numerous sources. And there it was, some 80 miles away. At first, I nearly overlooked it – it didn’t have my distinctive purple flats on. But then I spotted the Superstar logo on the grips, took a closer look – yes, it was my bike, but with shitty old pedals on. The guy who was selling it had a history of selling a wide variety of bikes on Gumtree, and indeed had put up another fairly decent hardtails shortly after my bike.
I immediately called the police, whose response was… underwhelming. It’d probably take a few days for them to get the info from Gumtree, there was nothing they could do.
So, in the absence of actual policing, I turned internet detective. In the space of an hour, I’d learned the name, address, occupation, education history and family details of my bike’s seller. Although he lived miles away, he had a brother who lived fairly local to me. Hmmmm.
Armed with that knowledge, I contacted the force local to the seller. They were originally reluctant to get involved without a referral from my local force, but I… well, I nagged them, pointing out that my bike was likely to sell quickly at such an artificially low price. After describing the unique quirks of my bike, they said they’d pay a visit.
And they did! The following day my bike was recovered, and the selling scrote admitted that he’d got the bike off his brother, but that he obviously had no idea that it was stolen. Amusingly, when the police recovered my bike, the purple Wellgos were back on, which would suggest that the seller removed them and replaced with shitty old pedals (which were used on another bike in another advert) for the sole purpose of the Gumtree photos for some reason. If one had a suspicious mind, one might think that this was because they were an identifying feature.
As local brother scrote was local, it was now a matter of the local force interviewing him, as selling scrote’s police force needed more evidence that he knew it was stolen. Once that was done, I could get my bike back.
The local police interviewed him promptly, his story quickly unraveled, and he was charged with handling stolen goods.
Oh wait, no – what actually happened was my case was assigned to a guy on sick leave who eventually returned six weeks later, wasn’t allowed out of the office so had to reassign the case, and a few weeks after that an officer finally got around to talking to local scrote. Local scrote said that he bought it off Gumtree (despite there being no other Gumtree ads for my make and model of bike in that time period), from a fellow ‘at the side of the road’, but ‘couldn’t remember who’.
And that was that. Besides, he ‘didn’t look like a bike thief’.
I was… a tad miffed. Surely he could be done for handling stolen goods, as obtaining expensive goods for a fraction of the price and not keeping records is an indicator, but the police felt that sub-£200 for a £900 bike was fine. Indifferent shrugs all around.
I raged. I seethed. And, being British, I put in an official complaint, I eventually got an apology and a reinvestigation of the case, with the Sergeant admitting that it was pretty obvious that local scrote was stealing/obtaining bikes and giving them to his brother to sell. Unfortunately, too much time had passed, and nowt happened except the promise that they were now ‘on the radar’. It still rankles that it was handled with such indifference, but it could have been worse – in all seriousness, the same local force ignored a woman who phoned them and said she’d been beaten, who was murdered shortly afterwards. Perspective, and all that.
And Tessa, the bike in question? Three months later I had to drive a 180 mile round trip to get it back. It had some new scratches in the paintwork, and the lights and bell were long gone, but I had it back.
A few months after that, I discovered that I was pregnant. I swiftly knocked commuting on the head as many local drivers are psychopaths, and decided that we needed a bit more room, so decided to give Tess a new home. She’s now gone to a new owner in the Peak District, so will hopefully be having more exciting adventures than canal towpaths and dodging cars.
I’d hoped to replace her with an ebike, but that’s not happened yet, so it’s just me and Devastator, my Stumpy, for my post pregnancy adventures…