A bike blogger who together with her partner had eight bikes stolen, has had them all returned thanks, in part, to the efforts of her readers.
Charlotte Barnes who blogs as the bicycleslut – she is a lover of many bikes, you see – came home from holiday in February to find her lock-up had been raided and the bikes gone.
Naturally she blogged about the trauma of losing the bikes - many of which she had built herself - and that’s where the power of the internet set wheels in motion.
Bloggers blogged, tweeters tweeted, forum posters posted and before long
Charlotte was alerted to the presence of the bikes on ebay where they were listed for sale by someone using their real identity.
The Met Police Cycle Task Force were contacted, a visit was paid to the seller and pretty soon all eight machines – which included a Dolan and a Roberts – were returned to a grateful Charlotte and partner Julian. The police found plenty of other bikes at the seller’s address but Charlotte said he has denied knowingly handling stolen goods.
"The seller was very co-operative with the police and protested his innocence and of course it's not an offence to buy items without knowing where they came from.
"Bizarrely two of the bikes were at the local bike shop getting serviced so my partner's road bike came back with a new chain and cassette and they were all squeaky clean.
"Somebody was arrested for the burglary but I don't have high hopes about there being a successful prosecution. But for me the lessons learned are the three Rs of recording your bikes' details, registering them with the police's online BikeRegister initiative and reporting any theft promptly to the police."
Charlotte has also beefed up security at the her new storage facility, ensuring the bikes are locked together to prevent easy removal and even investing in an infra-red wireless IP camera which will take a picture of an intruder and instantly email it to her.
On returning the bikes to her, the police had already tagged and recorded them on the Bike Register service, something Charlotte is recommending that we all do.