A cyclist who had her bike stolen by thieves set up an elaborate sting operation to get it back after police failed to help.
Jenni Morton-Humphreys was reunited with her German racing bike within 24 hours of it being pinched — after seeing it advertised for sale on Facebook.
The bike vanished from Bristol city centre after someone cut through the bike chain, prompting the 30-year-old to search for it online.
After posting a picture on the Bristol Cycling Group Facebook page, a fellow cyclist got in touch to tell her they had seen it for sale.
The pair went about setting up a meeting with the seller, with her new friend posing as her brother.
She managed to convince the thief to let her “test drive” the bike — before speeding off.
Morton-Humphreys told police what she planned to do but they didn’t help her with the sting — instead telling her not to.
She said: “I pretended to be interested and asked silly questions about the bike. I said the saddle was too high, and asked if I could get on it to test it out.”
“I made sure I had nothing on me, no possessions at all apart from the stuff in my hands – and they were a cigarette packet and a set of keys.
“I handed them to this guy as I got on the bike and said ‘here, hold my stuff’.
“That meant he let go of the bike for the first time. I wobbled off a bit on the bike and then when I was a couple of yards away I just went for it.
“I pedalled as fast as I could.”
She added: “I didn’t look back to see if they were chasing me. My main thought was that I was worried because I didn’t really know where I was, where I was going, or the area at all, and I was worried that I might have to go back that way or end up going round in a circle.
“But it was fine because quite soon, I hit a big roundabout and was able to find a different way back to the city centre, so I wasn’t scared at that point.”
The furious seller texted her ‘brother’: “I need 95 quid lively.”
Jenni’s new pal, who asked not to be named, replied: “She’s probably took it straight home.
“Not surprised though, because it is her bike that was stolen yesterday.
“Lesson to be learned son. Don’t steal from the cycling community for a quick fix. You played yourself.”
Jenni was delighted to find the thieves had given her bike some TLC when they had it overnight.
She said: “They had spruced the bike up a bit overnight — they’d even fixed the front light.”