Portsmouth police told cyclist Greg Mitchell they had found his stolen bike 12 months after it went missing – but later admitted they didn’t know where it was.
The bike was taken from outside the Kings Theatre, Southsea, in December 1991 and recovered a few weeks later.
But when Greg went to Kingston Crescent police station to collect it he was told it was not there.
A year-long search in the police stations of Hampshire proved fruitless and stumped police admitted: ‘It is like looking for a needle in a haystack.’
Greg, a technician at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘I was told not to call around the police stations to ask whether they had my bike because they had a very heavy caseload at the time.
‘It is a vicious circle because I cannot check all the stations as I have no bike to get there.’
Greg was overjoyed when police called to tell him they had found his treasured bike – his only means of transport.
He was not told where it was but went straight to the bike centre at Kingston Crescent, believing that was where it would be – alas it was not.
Pictured: Greg with his bike pump... but no bike