A teenage cyclist who had his £3,000 customised racing bike stolen was reunited with it, in time to compete in the UK National 10 mile TT Championships on Sunday 20 May.
Georg Mew Jensen, 13, built the bike over two years using his savings and money he won from competing. On his 13th birthday he was able to buy a frame using a grant from Tower Hamlets, completing the bike.
Originally, the family began a poster and media appeal to trace the bike stolen from Redbridge Cycling Centre on Saturday 5 May. This reached BBC radio DJ Robert Elms and Gary Kemp from the band Spandau Ballet, who together raised £700 to replace Georg’s bike.
Meanwhile, an investigation was launched by police in Redbridge and supported by the Safer Transport Command’s Cycle Task Force, funded by Transport for London, who circulated the details of a van containing the bike, which was seen leaving the cycling centre. The van was seized by Essex Police and the owner later arrested, however the bike was not recovered.
A few days later information led officers from the Cycle Task Force to a van parked in Islington, which was seized and found to have the stolen bike within.
As a result of Georg being reunited with his bike on Thursday 17 May, Georg won his age group at the RTTC National Championship 10 mile Time trial on Sunday 20 May.
The money raised by the BBC will now be used to improve the security at the cycling centre.
Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor, Safer Transport Command, said: “The Cycle Task Force is dedicated to tackling cycle theft across London and we are delighted to be able to return Georg’s bike back, especially in time for his important competition on Sunday.
“Bike thieves should be aware that we will use the full powers of the law and range of tactics to track them down and bring them before the courts.”
Steve Burton, TfL’s Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, said: “TfL will continue to work with the Met to reduce the rate of cycle theft in the Capital. Through TfL’s funding of the Met’s Cycle Task Force, the team continues to do an excellent job to tackle this issue so more people chose to cycle in London.
“We urge cyclists in London to help protect their bikes by parking their bike at a designated location, securely locking their bikes and ensuring that they are cycle security marked.”