Call taker error leaves South wales man bikeless

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.”

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.