Southsea resident left without his bike as Colas cleans up

NOT HAPPY Gary Grant had his bike taken by Colas workers when it was chained to a railing.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (113102-766)
NOT HAPPY Gary Grant had his bike taken by Colas workers when it was chained to a railing. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113102-766)
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FOR years, cyclist Gary Grant has left his bike chained to roadside railings after pedalling to work.

Until, that is, the men from Colas deemed it to be a potential hazard.

The stunned builder finished his shift to discover that his £250 red and white Diamondback mountain bike had disappeared from the railings at a pedestrian crossing in Portsmouth city centre.

The 43-year-old, of Ockenden Close, Southsea, discovered it had been disposed of by highway authority Colas.

Workers from the firm, hired by Portsmouth City Council to look after the city’s streets, thought the bike had been left abandoned at the railings opposite the BP garage in Commercial Road.

Colas said the bike had caused an obstruction to road users so it was part of their practice to dispose of it.

Now Gary has warned others to be wary of where they park their bikes.

He said: ‘I’m worried that they are just going around and taking people’s bicycles.

‘They didn’t leave a notice or anything to say they had taken it.

‘I assumed it had been stolen.

‘I had to find out from staff at the nearby BP Garage, who told me Colas had come by and taken it. I rang the next day and they told me they had got rid of it. They didn’t give me a chance to claim it.

‘How can they classify it as an abandoned bike when I take it home every day? There’s never been a problem before. It’s disgusting.

‘It’s difficult for me to get around now because I don’t drive. I have to walk everywhere.’

Colas has promised to compensate Gary for the value of his bike.

But the firm says it won’t be issuing Gary a refund for extras he added to the bike, worth £100.

He had no proof of receipt to show he had purchased new pedals and disc brakes.

Colas business manager Louis Ledoux said: ‘We remove bikes causing obstructions on our streets as soon as possible.

‘In this case, the bike should not have been left there and was in the way of people using the crossing, especially people with buggies or using wheelchairs.

‘Bikes we remove from railings have usually been abandoned and are of no value, and our usual practice has been to dispose of them straight away.

‘Clearly this wasn’t the right action in this case. We apologise for disposing of the bike so quickly.

‘We’ve now changed our policy and will keep bikes for seven days before disposing of them.’