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Darlington man reunited with bike stolen 12 years ago

Bike stolen so long ago, owner had forgotten about it

A man in Darlington has been reunited with a bike that was stolen 12 years ago — so long ago he'd completely forgotten about it.

The Northern Echo's Tony Kearney reports that police in Consett, Co Durham found the mountain bike in a load of stolen property recovered in a raid last week.

They tracked down the rightful owner, Paul Wallis, and yesterday returned the bike stolen in 2002.

Inspector Keith Wardle, of Consett Police, said: “We have never returned something which has been stolen quite so long ago, but there is always the possibility that we can trace the owner.

“It was so long ago he had forgotten all about it, but he was over the moon to get it back.”

Other goods recovered in the March 7 raid included a set of rare handmade carving knives, which were also returned to their owner.

Police arrested a 43-year-old on suspicion of possession of stolen goods and firearms offences. He was questioned and released on police bail.

PCSO Mark Rodgers had the challenging task of tracking down the bike’s original owner, by comparing its make, model and colour with police computer records of reported thefts.

PCSO Rodgers said: “As you can imagine it wasn’t a straightforward matter contacting a victim of a crime which happened 12 years ago.

“Despite this, we eventually managed to locate Mr Wallis, who confirmed the bike was the one that was stolen all those years ago. He was delighted to get his bike back”.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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