Probe as 'delivery driver's passenger' takes Waterlooville teenager's bike before firm is forced to return it days later
A DELIVERY company has been forced into returning a teenager’s bike after a doorbell camera captured the moment the boy’s pride and joy was taken.
Shocked Spencer Cartwright, 14, was left upset when the Ring doorbell at his home captured a masked man taking the £525 Cannondale from his home.
Just moments earlier a delivery driver from Tuffnells had spoken with his mum Catherine Cartwright, 33, who told him via the app she was minutes away.
The footage seen by The News shows the driver then leaving the car part ordered by Spencer’s dad Craig, 37, at the door.
He climbs back into the van, out of shot of the Ring doorbell, and together with a passenger reverses until they hit a camera blind spot.
But within seconds a man wearing a cap and mask appears in the Cartwright family home driveway, walks down the side alley and emerges with Spencer’s bike.
Police are now investigating the passenger in relation to the theft.
Furious Catherine immediately challenged Sheffield-based Tuffnells, sparking an internal probe into the June 4 incident.
Spencer, who delivers newspapers for The News, was distraught having saved up his cash for the £500 bike six months ago. ‘I was devastated,’ he said. ‘It took me ages to save up for it.’
Four days later a senior manager arrived back at their home in Bernina Close, Waterlooville - with the striking red bike, minus a customised fitted plate.
Tuffnells told The News the ‘individuals deemed responsible’ were supplied by a third party agency and have now been blacklisted - but not before the same driver was nearly sent to return the bike.
Catherine told The News: ‘They delivered it back to us, although the driver claims he knew nothing about his passenger stealing the bike.
‘The manager phoned me and said that they will deliver the bike back to us.
‘He said that he was going to send the driver - the driver who was involved in the theft - and I said that he is not welcome back on my property.
‘I must admit, I’m surprised that he’s even still working there. Apparently he was in my area today doing deliveries.’
The company, which has depots across Britain including in Andover, has paid £525 compensation as well as returning the bike.
For the few days he was without his bike, Spencer resorted to using a scooter for his paper rounds - adding an hour to his 30-minute route.
‘I use it every day - it’s just an amazing bike,’ the Cowplain School Year 9 pupil said. ‘I was really upset, it’s disgusting.’
His mum added: ‘It’s absolutely terrible, you just think a delivery guy is supposed to be delivering, you wouldn’t expect them to take something.
‘We just wanted our son to have his bike back. He’s been doing (his round) since he was 13.
‘He saved up all this money to buy this bike - it’s his pride and joy.’
Despite the shocking incident, Catherine has said she was impressed with Tuffnells’ efforts to fix it.
On the firm providing cash for a new bike, she said: ‘I am grateful that they are helping to ensure that our son has a safe bike to ride and we do thank them for that.
‘They said that they’d like to know that Spencer’s on a safe bike again as the one that’s been returned needs servicing.’
CCTV and the Ring footage shows no-one else was in the cul-de-sac at the time.
A Tuffnells spokeswoman said: ‘We took immediate steps to investigate and to ensure the bike was quickly recovered and returned, keeping the owner fully updated throughout.
‘The individuals deemed responsible were supplied by a third-party agency, which immediately terminated their service provision. We have taken additional steps to ensure the individuals are not able to work on behalf of our business in future.’
A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We are investigating a theft which took place in Waterlooville.
‘It was reported that between 2.15pm and 2.35pm on June 4, the passenger of a van in Bernina Close stole a bicycle from outside a resident’s house.
‘Enquiries are ongoing.’