A Paralympian’s £5,000 handbike has been returned to him after being spotted in a branch of Cash Converters in Streatham, South London.
The London Evening Standard reports that former Paralympic skier Tim Farr had the three-wheel cycle made to measure, but it was stolen from his home on April 21 and sold to the pawn shop for just £150.
Thousands of people shared an appeal for information as to its whereabouts on social media and the bike was eventually spotted for sale. Residents living near the shop who had heard about the theft via social media reported to police that they had seen it brought in by a ‘well-dressed’ couple.
“I never thought my bike being stolen would go so viral. I was overwhelmed with the support that everyone gave me – people were trying to get it back, offering to lend me bikes and everything else.
“It restores your faith in humanity a little bit. It just shows that a few lowlifes can have such a bad impact, but the majority of people are on your side.”
Writing on Facebook, he added: “There are a couple of small bits missing but nothing major and it is generally unharmed.”
I got my bike back. Thank you everyone who has shared to help get my bike back. Shows the power of social media pic.twitter.com/7plsshBzio
— Tim Farr (@timfarrski) April 26, 2016
A crowdfunding campaign to buy Farr a replacement also raised over £1,700 pounds. The money will now go to charity with the money split between the spinal cord injury charity Back Up, where Farr works, and Access Adventures, which he founded to help disabled people enjoy outdoor activities.
Police said that no arrests have been made.
In 2012, Merseytravel train driver Graeme Porterfield spotted his bike for sale in the window of Cash Converters shortly after it had been taken from his shed. Staff advised him to contact the police and removed the bike from sale in the meantime. Once it was established that the bike was his, it was returned to him.
Speaking at the time, a staff member commented: "We lost out on the £160 we paid for the bike, but we got a good result all round, we did everything we could to ensure the owner got his bike back. Given the nature of our shop we are very open with the police, who check the serial numbers of games consoles and other items against their files regularly."
All customers selling to Cash Converters have to supply two forms of identification as well as having their photo taken.