A blind cyclist has praised Cleveland Police for recovering his stolen tandem bike, which he says has been integral to improving his fitness and confidence, following a drugs raid in Middlesbrough.
52-year-old Nadeem Mughal, from Yarm, North Yorkshire, was on the return leg of a ride to Hartlepool when his locked Dolan tandem bike was stolen from outside a supermarket in Billingham where he and his tandem partner had briefly stopped.
Fortunately Mr Mughal, who says he was “shocked and angry” following the theft, was reunited with his bike earlier this week, after it was found – along with a host of other suspected stolen bikes – when officers from Cleveland Police executed a drugs warrant in Middlesbrough.
> Almost 90% of bike thefts reported to police closed without suspect identified
Mr Mughal’s bike was found inside the address during the raid, which saw five people arrested on suspicion of drug supply offences, and one also arrested on suspicion of theft.
All suspects were bailed pending further enquiries, Cleveland Police has said.
“It was fantastic to be able to return Mr Mughal’s bike. Our teams carry out a large volume of drugs enforcement activity but alongside this, we also tackle associated criminality, disorder and ASB,” Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Police Team's Sergeant John Sproson said in a statement.
“I was shocked and angry when my bike was stolen,” Mr Mughal added.
“Bikes give me enjoyment and normality because I am blind. It has been amazing in improving my fitness and confidence. I never thought I would see the bike again.
“I am so grateful to the officers and Cleveland Police for getting it back for me.”
> Cyclist slams police who failed to act despite pictures showing bikes being stolen in broad daylight
The positive outcome in North Yorkshire is a far cry from a recent incident in Leeds, where police admitted that the handling of a call from a member of the public who witnessed bikes being stolen in the city centre “fell short of what victims of crime should reasonably expect,” with the force reopening its investigation into the thefts.
Despite the thieves being clearly visible in images captured by witnesses, and later posted on social media, the cyclist whose bike was stolen claimed that West Yorkshire Police told him that they were “not prepared to follow up with CCTV”, and that the images weren’t “clear enough for them to do anything”.
> “Lock it, still lose it”: TikTok account gloats about stealing bikes from school
In a statement provided to road.cc, Inspector Patrick Kenning, who leads the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team, apologised for the force’s handling of the case and said that they were carrying out further enquiries to find those responsible.
“We recognise that our handling of this call fell short of what a victim of crime should reasonably expect from West Yorkshire Police and will be addressing this through further training in the contact centre,” Kenning said.
“We are speaking with the caller to reassure them that we are investigating this matter using the images provided and carrying out further enquiries to identify and take appropriate action against those responsible.
“West Yorkshire Police fully supports and encourages the use of sustainable transport in Leeds and the Leeds City Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to hold regular bicycle marking events in the city centre. These events through the Bike Register scheme have resulted in more than 4,000 bikes being security marked in Leeds over the last year and also led to a reduction in bicycle thefts across the district.”
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