But not before he had been severely beaten

Police in Ghana have rescued an alleged bike thief from an angry mob that was planning to set him on fire.

According to the Ghana News Agency, police in the north-western town of Wa were pelted with stones as they rescued Safiq Kayaani from the mob, who had already administered the alleged thief a severe beating.

Eye witnesses said Safiq was released from prison less than two months ago, and would have been burnt to death had he not been rescued.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Edmond Nyamekye, the Public Relations Officer of the Upper West Regional Police Command told the Ghana News Agency that Safiq was alleged to have stolen a bike and GH₵500 (£130) from the compound house where he lives.

Mr Nyamekye said a suspect believed to be in his late 20s was spotted by its owner riding the bicycle in Wapaani, a suburb of Wa. A confrontation ensued in which the suspect admitted he stole the bike and the money.

He said the suspect revealed that he had left the money with another person, named as Hajia, in the T-Junction area of Wa. The bike’s owner took the suspect to the area in search of Hajia, but were unable to locate the alleged recipient of the money.

Mr Nyamekye said this made the owner angry and he raised the alarm, attracting the mob who severely beat the suspect until the police intervened.

The suspect was sent to hospital for treatment, after which he will assist in police investigations.

Mr Nyamekye said the public should not to mete out such treatment to suspects and the police, pointing out that it was against the law and could result in arrest and prosecution.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.