Wheel meet again: mystery of the missing bike that came back

<span>Photograph: RioPatuca/Alamy</span>
Photograph: RioPatuca/Alamy

Your article on bicycle thefts and police inaction called to mind my experience a few years ago (Life in bike theft Britain: ‘Afterwards, I couldn’t face going outside’, 21 September). Having locked my bike securely to railings while meeting a friend, I returned to find it stolen. I promptly reported the theft to the police with all the necessary details (the make, model, colour, equipment etc).

After about six weeks with no news, I spent another £650 on the same model and, after a few days, visited the supplier’s shop to request a small adjustment. The owner said that he had been about to ring me at that very moment as he had my previous bike in the workshop.

It transpired that a man had brought it in the previous day and the shop owner recognised it as my bike. He informed the man that it was known to be stolen and unless he could prove ownership, it would have to stay on the premises. The man said he had the receipt in his van and left the shop.

The shop owner expected that no more would be seen of him – but that proved not to be the case. He returned minutes later with a receipt showing that he had bought the bike at a police auction a few days previously for £40. He was the legitimate owner. My bike had actually been left in a police station by a drug dealer who had been arrested and bailed.

Merseyside police eventually paid me the cost of the replacement bike, but it could have saved ratepayers that amount with a simple two-part spreadsheet of “stolen and recovered”.
Gerard Donaldson

• When I lived in London in the 1980s, I had three racing bikes stolen. One was taken from outside my basement door, but as I had such complicated security locks, I couldn’t get out in time to stop the thief. The other two were stolen from outside my chambers in Temple, the centre of the legal profession.
Des Murphy
Feuilla, France

• Having had three bikes stolen, I strangely enjoyed your article. As I see it there are three solutions to the scourge of bike thefts: buy better bike locks, stop voting Tory and stop enjoying a bargain bike purchase on eBay.
Kevin Northrop
Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester

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