Police recover stolen bike, then give it away — and leave owner with just the pedals

Call taker error leaves South wales man bikeless

by John Stevenson   May 21, 2014  

Ollie the tea-leaf

A South Wales man whose £1,500 bike was stolen, recovered and then given away by the police has been advised by the force to seek compensation for their mistake.

Andrew Dickens’s bike was taken while he was playing squash at Cwmbran Stadium in January. He reported it stolen, but police admit a call handler took down the wrong details, according to the South Wales Argus.

The bike was handed in, but after holding it for 28 days, Gwent Police gave it to the person who brought it to them, and not to Dickens.

He said: “I am amazed and really aggrieved. I just can’t believe I could have just reported something stolen and then not expected it back. It’s crazy.”

He spotted what he believes was his bike for sale on eBay in April, but when he called the police, they said the only advice they could give him was to buy it back from the seller.

They subsequently contacted him to say that the person who had picked it up had left some parts they didn’t want.

Dickens said: “Later they left me a voicemail saying: ‘We have got your pedals’. But then they said: ‘There is nothing we can do now because [the man who handed in the bike] has been given it’.”

A Gwent Police spokesman said: “We have apologised for not returning his bike and have explained the mistake was made when the full description of the bike was not logged by the person taking the original report.

“Gwent Police call handlers take hundreds of reports of incidents each day and unfortunately, on rare occasions, mistakes can be made.

“We have discussed the best way to rectify the situation with Mr Dickens and have given him advice about claiming compensation for his loss. We would be happy to meet with him again to discuss any further concerns.”

15 user comments

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A good reason to have your bike registered at https://www.immobilise.com/ with some nice clear pictures and details of the frame number etc.

posted by GrahamSt [77 posts]
21st May 2014 - 13:59

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Typical; a noddy system; run by a bunch of NODDY'S Rolling On The Floor

posted by Mostyn [400 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:07

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Easy solution. Police buy him a new bike.

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [104 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:19

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A couple of months back my bike was vandalised whilst locked up at the train station. I park my bike right underneath a CCTV camera, so I was quite confident that the British Transport Police would be able to tell me, at the very least, what had occurred - I reported the incident immediately.

After waiting over a month for any kind of update I got a call to say that they had not managed to request the CCTV footage in time and that it had now been deleted. They were very sorry but mistakes do happen...

Lesson learnt. I now ride the crummiest, dirtiest, old hack of a bike to the station.

posted by Jones The Steam [19 posts]
21st May 2014 - 14:45

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the only advice they could give him was to buy it back from the seller

Then they would presumably have arrested him for knowingly buying stolen property - even if it was his own.

posted by congokid [111 posts]
21st May 2014 - 17:19

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Surprised he wasn't given a crime number and told to claim off his insurance. Devil

posted by levermonkey [342 posts]
21st May 2014 - 19:05

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Poor response from gwent police really. Their failure has caused his loss. Goodwill should be to pay towards the replacement taken from funds they get through proceeds of crime ( money taken off criminals ). It's within their power to do.

posted by Sswindells [14 posts]
21st May 2014 - 20:20

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They will pay up for a new bike that much i can virtually guarantee.

I dont understand though why they haven't followed it up, spoke to the bloke who recovered it and find it where / who it had been sold onto. If it was on ebay then its easy to find out who bought and recover it as its stolen property.

Mind you if their property system is anything like ours then a slight misspelling of bike / colour etc can cast you off in the complete wrong direction - ie specialized / specialised will throw up different bikes, but they should have searched under the full spectrum to be honest.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2675 posts]
21st May 2014 - 20:49

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Is there no end to police incompetence? You couldn't make it up. They really are hopeless.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [221 posts]
21st May 2014 - 23:36

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A genuine mistake on the part of the police force an apology followed by the promise of compensation, and yet there are still very harsh negative comments.

I sometimes wonder what somepeople expect and what colour the clouds are on their planet.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [572 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 9:26

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I don't understand... it's stolen property. Even if it is in someone else's possession in good faith, the title of ownership remains with its original owner. He should be able to demand that the Police just TAKE it back from the person who (wrongly) has it.

posted by severs1966 [56 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 13:07

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severs1966 wrote:
I don't understand... it's stolen property. Even if it is in someone else's possession in good faith, the title of ownership remains with its original owner. He should be able to demand that the Police just TAKE it back from the person who (wrongly) has it.

The law states something along the lines of once the property is handed back (after the 28 days) over to the finder then the owner cannot claim the goods.

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [285 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 13:18

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FATBEGGARONABIKE wrote:
A genuine mistake on the part of the police force an apology followed by the promise of compensation, and yet there are still very harsh negative comments.

I sometimes wonder what somepeople expect and what colour the clouds are on their planet.

Nobody is aloud to make a mistake because the people who slate others for a mistake never make them themselves. And it all works out ok in The Bill Wink

posted by Alec Wallace [7 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 18:43

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I don't get it.

If you buy a stolen car, it doesn't become "yours". It remains the property of the original owner (or the insurers if they paid out AIUI).

So how can a stolen bike be any different?

didds

posted by didds [41 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 20:05

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didds wrote:
I don't get it.

If you buy a stolen car, it doesn't become "yours". It remains the property of the original owner (or the insurers if they paid out AIUI).

So how can a stolen bike be any different?

didds

As severs1966 wrote above, once it's been handed in and been through the recovery process it's legally not classed as stolen goods any more. If you think about it, if it were any other way then it would not be possible to redistribute recovered goods whose owners couldn't be found. The nub of this case is that the police failed to use information they had in their possession to correctly trace the original owner. I agree with other comments that it's harsh to slam the police for a genuine and understandable mistake, but I do think their response - as reported - leaves a lot to be desired.

posted by BrianL51 [6 posts]
24th May 2014 - 11:44

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