The last thing you would expect a year on from having your bike stolen is that you’d get it back. But Derek Coupe, from Breightmet, was reunited with his top-of-the-range bicycle 12 months after it was taken.
The Bolton News reported that police recovered the bike when it was used as a getaway vehicle for a bungled break-in attempt.
The cycling fanatic was distraught when his customised Claud Butler mountain bike, worth around £1,200, was stolen from his garage last November. It was a birthday present from his son and he thought he had seen the last of it after it was replaced by his insurance company.
But officers from the Bolton Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team arrested two men who made off on mountain bikes after they were seen trying to break into a car. Police checked to see if the bikes had been stolen.
A police spokesman told The Bolton News: “These inquiries proved difficult as the bike had had its identity concealed with different parts and changes in logos, but was made easier because the owner had marked his property.”
With cycling booming the growing popularity also means that cycle theft is on the rise too. The latest British Crime Survey figures show that during 2008/09 there were an estimated 540,000 bikes stolen – a 22 per cent rise since the last survey. And in London alone 80,000 bikes were stolen.
It is believed the thieves had taken the expensive parts from Mr Coupe’s bike, such as the saddle, pedals, wheels, and lights, to sell them on, replacing them with cheaper versions.
Mr Coupe, 69, said: “It was a lovely looking bike but it’s not now. It just looks like a bog-standard aluminium bike. They have ruined it.” However he added: “I would recommend that people mark their bikes because you never know when you will get them back.”
Earlier this year Avon and Somerset Police were praised by a cyclist after he was reunited with his classic Bob Jackson bike a year after it had been stolen after members of the londonfgss.com forum discovered the his £1400 bike on eBay.