Police can’t find stolen bike despite Gumtree post

A CYCLIST has been left reeling after police said they could not recover his stolen bike – despite the thief putting it up for sale online almost two weeks ago.

The bike appears to have been posted on Gumtree. Picture: Comp
The bike appears to have been posted on Gumtree. Picture: Comp

Peter Whitehead, who is from Newhaven, bought his bike just a week before it was snatched from outside the Pure Gym at Ocean Terminal.

He found the distinctive bicycle listed for sale on trading website Gumtree just hours later – yet police insist their hands are tied until a data protection request is granted.

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Attempts by Mr Whitehead to make contact with the seller have been ignored, leaving him fearing the bike has already been sold on. The 31-year-old’s frustration has been fuelled by the fact he had another bike stolen at the same location just six weeks earlier.

Pete Whitehead has his bike stolen. Picture: Jane Barlow

The replacement bike, which cost £450, was taken despite being securely padlocked outside the gym.

But the thief managed to snap the lock and security guards told Mr Whitehead that the bike rack area was not covered by CCTV cameras.

Mr Whitehead, who helps run the family business Source Electronics on Nicolson Street, said he and his girlfriend Ashley Donaldson had been in touch with police on several occasions since first spotting the bike for sale.

He said the advert – featuring a picture of the treasured transport – is still listed on Gumtree as being sold in the Bonnington area for £250.

The post says: “Nice bike, only a year old, never used. It’s a bargain at the price.”

Mr Whitehead said: “The police phoned me yesterday to say there’s no further progress. I asked them what they had done with Gumtree, and they said they were still waiting to hear back.

“It has been almost two weeks. The person listing the bike is listed as being on the site for more than seven years – they must be a regular.

“In the picture, there is another bike in the background, which could be stolen as well.”

Mr Whitehead said there was no doubt that it was his bike as it is an unusual “Whistle Patwin” model and he recognised the position of the bike lock bracket on the frame.

His girlfriend, a community staff nurse, said: “I know to some people it’s just a bike and they have stretched services with bigger things to worry about than stolen bikes.

“But this is two bikes in six weeks.

“It’s frustrating when you are working full time and your property is sitting on the computer – you’re calling them up and they don’t seem to follow it up.”

The 26-year-old called police on several occasions over the past week to see if there was any update on the case.

She said she was told that although the stolen item was listed on Gumtree, police had to wait for the suspected thief’s personal details to be handed over.

A police spokesman said: “Enquiries to trace the bike and identify those responsible for this theft are ongoing.”