TEENAGER Joe Stevens is delighted after being reunited with his stolen bike thanks to an internet campaign.
The 15-year-old saved up birthday and Christmas cash to buy his white Carrera bicycle.
He was devastated when thieves cut through a strong cable lock to take it from outside Portsmouth’s Mountbatten Centre, where he was swimming.
Joe, of Powerscourt Road, North End, reported the theft to the police and sports centre staff.
And then he roped in his friends and family members to help circulate details of the theft and pictures of the bike on Facebook.
The next day Joe’s dad, Nessen Runghen, got a call from a friend of a friend.
He had already seen Joe’s Facebook appeal when he was approached by a man who offered to sell the bike for just £50.
The friend handed over the cash and then immediately phoned Joe’s family.
The teenager has been reunited with his bike – and police have been informed about the sale.
‘I was so sad when I found out that my bike was gone because it took me a long time to save up for it,’ Joe said.
‘And I was worried about what my dad would say, I thought he was going to get me in trouble.
‘But I was annoyed that the lock didn’t work.
‘It had a big thick cable and it was expensive, but they’d just snipped right through it.’
Joe added: ‘I was so relieved to get it back.
‘I’d had a rubbish day at school that day because of exams and worrying about getting my bike back, so it was such a good feeling to know someone had found it.
‘But I couldn’t believe they’d sold it for £50.
‘That was really hard to hear.
‘Now I won’t take it out anywhere if I know I’m going to have to leave it.
‘I will only ride it and not get off it until I get back home again.’
Joe’s mum, Emma, 35, said: ‘Joe was absolutely gutted when his bike was stolen – I was too.
‘It was horrible. It was as if someone had taken away his birthday and Christmas present.
‘Whoever took it must have planned to steal a bike that night because they were walking about with tools to chop through a chain.
‘Joe was lucky that he got his bike back.
‘But the next person might not be so lucky.’
HOW TO KEEP YOUR BIKE SAFE
· Use a good quality, strong bicycle lock. Police recommend a D-lock style.
· Always lock through both the wheel and frame.
· Don’t leave your bike unlocked, even for a minute.
· Always use purpose-built bike racks or cycle sheds.
· Never leave valuables.
· If you have a garage or shed at home, use it and lock it.
· Write down the make, model and frame number of your bicycle, and keep it in a safe place.
· Should your bike be stolen, a photograph of you with your bike will help to prove it is yours.