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

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.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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