Crimestoppers offering £1,000 reward for help in tracking down the thieves

A London man whose bike was stolen found it at the city’s Brick Lane market – and a £1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who helps bring the thieves to justice.

The bike was stolen from outside the Tottenham home of Damiano Migani, who had secured it with a lock and chain that thieves cut through, reports the Haringey Independent.

The newspaper says he was advised to try looking for it in on a Sunday on Brick Lane in the East End, known as somewhere that stolen bikes are likely to end up to be sold on.

He says he saw a man attempting to sell his bike to a stall owner, and confronted him.

“I was furious,” Mr Migani said. “I shouted he was a thief and immediately grabbed it from his hands. He just mumbled something about buying it from another person.

“I said the police were on their way and he quickly handed it back, saying he didn’t want any trouble."

However, he says that while he recovered his bike, no-one has been charged for stealing his bike.

“He left before I managed to get a picture of him,” he said. “Although I was able to give the police a description, I don’t believe he was ever caught.

“At the time I was using my bicycle on a daily basis because my motorbike was out of service. If I hadn’t recovered it sooner, it would really have impacted on my day-to-day life.”

The charity Crimestoppers, which can be contacted via 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org, has offered a reward of up to £1,000 that leads to someone being arrested and charged in connection with the theft.

Its regional manager for London, Regan Hook, said: “Cycling has certainly increased in popularity in the past few years and there is a need to improve bicycle security.

“We would urge anyone who has information about those involved in stealing bikes or handling stolen bikes and bike parts to share it with us anonymously.”

Well, perhaps not anonymously if you want that reward.

Personal story

If you’ve had a bike stolen in east London – or even further afield – it’s worth checking out Brick Lane, although time is clearly of the essence.

A few years back, my ex-wife and I cycled along the canal towpath one Sunday lunchtime and stopped for a drink at a pub on Broadway Market.

We locked our bikes to a lamp post 50 yards or so from the pub, and while they were never out of sight for more than 30 seconds, that was enough time for them to be stolen and thrown into the back of a van, which we saw disappearing round the corner.

Disconsolate, we were starting the journey back to South London when we bumped into a friend who suggested we try Brick Lane, so we got down there pronto.

Almost the moment we arrived, the guy who’d bought my wife’s bike pretty much walked into us while pushing it along the pavement. He’d bought it to replace his daughter’s bike, which had been stolen – oh, the irony.

He wasn’t letting go of it until he got back the £30 he’d paid for it, even when we said we’d called the police – big mistake on his part.

After they turned up and were taking down all the details, I saw someone riding my bike. He’d just bought it, and he got stopped too.

The vendors were long gone, but the police, my wife and I plus the two purchasers (plus the wife of the guy who’d bought my bike who was giving him an earful – diplomatically, I didn’t let on that I speak Italian) piled into a people carrier to go back to the station.

We gave witness statements, got our bikes back, and the buyers got done for handling stolen goods.

That might strike some as a bit heavy handed, but the officers explained to us that they wanted to send out a signal that it’s not okay to go down there in the hope of picking up a bargain on something that’s stolen.

I have to say, the ride home was one of the best of my life - we couldn't stop smiling.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.