Bicycle thieves, you either love them or hate them, right? Just kidding, we all hate them. Argus editor Arron Hendy experienced this feeling first-hand when his garage in downtown Brighton and Hove, UK, was broken into and two beloved bikes were stolen. Knowing the recovery stats, Arron was just about to give up hope when he stumbled upon them both just four days later, locked in front of a local cosmetics store. With the police unable to help, the Argus team jumped into action.
Either the thieves weren’t very bright to use locally stolen bikes in the same area or the rides were immediately sold to an unsuspecting pawn shop customer. Either way, the bikes were right there and Arron and friends needed to do something about it. He contacted the police but they politely informed him they are burdened with ‘higher priority’ cases’ at the moment and that he’s free to recover the bicycles by his own means.
“It’s not really worth a great deal but it’s my bike and I was not going to lose it again. I was concerned that if the thieves came back there could be a difficult situation. The police could not send anybody, but they were very helpful and gave me advice.”
So, Arron called upon his colleague Jody Doherty-Cove to grab a bike lock and get there while he stayed with the bikes in case the thieves returned. They locked the bikes up with their own locks and then headed out to buy a majestic pair of bolt cutters to free the unlucky bicycles. They alerted some nearby police officers to their intentions so they won’t be arrested in a rather unfortunate turn of events.
“When we were walking back up North Street to cut [the bikes] free, we saw a few officers dealing with a demonstration and told them what we were doing in case they were concerned about two men walking up the road with a bike and some bolt cutters. Thankfully, we freed the bikes and we now have them back.”
Some comments have suggested that the Argus staff had missed the perfect opportunity to out the thieves by waiting for them to come and retrieve the bike – standing across the road and taking pictures or filming them would be a non-confrontational way to gather info that could be given to the police. But as Arron Hendy stated, he was just happy to have his bike back. All in all, the story ended with a rare happy end, considering steady numbers of bicycle thefts across Europe. Asked about the issue, Brighton sergeant James Ward added that the Operation Ensnare, launched in late 2017, had reduced the number of bike thefts in the city and led to a number of arrests, adding that police plan to put more resources into dealing with a recent spike in the number of bicycles stolen in east Brighton.