A cyclist had had her bike stolen, but ended up beating the thieves at their own game when she set up a sting to take it back from the man selling it on Facebook.
Jenni Morton-Humphreys, 30, planned a sting operation with a stranger and had her expensive German racing bike back within the space of 24 hours from when it was stolen last week.
She set up a meeting with the man to see the bike as a potential buyer, she told him she was going to take it for a ‘test drive’ and sped off instead.
Morton-Humphreys told police about her plan, but they did not help her with the sting or arrest the man selling it. She had been worried that her blue Cube bicycle would be sold to someone else if she didn’t act fast.
The bike had disappeared from Bristol city centre after someone cut through her bike lock’s chain.
Morton-Humphreys posted a picture of the bike on the Bristol Cycling Group Facebook page and asked anyone who saw it to get in touch. She was contacted by a fellow cyclist who was angered by what happened to her, and found the bike listed for sale online.
The man contacted the seller saying his sister, Morton-Humphreys, and was interested in buying a bike and wanted to look at it.
They arranged a time for Morton-Humphreys to meet a friend of the seller on a street corner of Stapleton Road, Easton, once known as the most dangerous street in Britain.
But she was discouraged by officers who warned that the situation could be risky. A friend went along her but walked ahead so the thief would not know they were together and as soon as Morton-Humphreys saw the bike she knew it was hers.
She said: ‘I pretended to be interested and asked silly questions about the bike. I said the saddle was too high, and asked if I could get on it to test it out.
‘I made sure I had nothing on me, no possessions at all apart from the stuff in my hands – and they were a cigarette packet and a set of keys.
‘I handed them to this guy as I got on the bike and said ‘here, hold my stuff’.
‘That meant he let go of the bike for the first time. I wobbled off a bit on the bike and then when I was a couple of yards away I just went for it. I pedalled as fast as I could.’
Someone shouted ‘she’s not coming back’ and the shocked bike thief began texting Morton-Humphreys’s co-conspirator, who had pretended to be her brother.
Morton-Humphreys added: ‘I didn’t look back to see if they were chasing me. My main thought was that I was worried because I didn’t really know where I was, where I was going, or the area at all, and I was worried that I might have to go back that way or end up going round in a circle.
‘But it was fine because quite soon, I hit a big roundabout and was able to find a different way back to the city centre, so I wasn’t scared at that point.’
The furious seller told Morton-Humphreys’ accomplice: ‘I need 95 quid lively.’
Morton-Humphreys’s new pal, who asked not to be named, replied: ‘She’s probably took it straight home. Not surprised though, because it is her bike that was stolen yesterday.
‘Lesson to be learned son. Don’t steal from the cycling community for a quick fix. You played yourself.’
Morton-Humphreys was delighted to find the thieves had given her bike some TLC when they had it overnight.
She said: ‘They had spruced the bike up a bit overnight – they’d even fixed the front light.’
Well, kudos to the brave girl!