by Ben Haworth
January 5, 2010
As many of you will know Tony Doyle (Jedi) had his beloved Demo 9 Stolen from the back of his car on the 14th December. It came as a hell of a blow to him and couldn’t have come at a worst time, as he has only recently started his cycle skills coaching firm; UK Bike Skills and it was just before Christmas. Many of you reading this will have been following the story as it unfolded on The Singletrack World Forum, but what many of you won’t know is that the story’s happy ending is as a direct result of the actions of many of the STW forum members. As soon as the bike was stolen Tony posted a topic on the forum stating that his bike had been stolen. There was a heart felt outpouring of emotion initially, but then people started to take steps to ensure that the bike would be found.
“To be honest I’ve been blown away by how people reacted. I had messages from complete strangers stating that they start looking on ebay and other auction websites, others sent me messages of support. I even had someone send me £10 via paypal for me to get myself a pint.”
Initially a was quiet, but we started to get rumours and stories about other high end bikes being taken in the area. The local paper ran a story about the loss of the bike, and the string of high value bike thefts. Members of the STW Forum continued to look for the bike and eventually Tony received word that it had appeared on ebay on Christmas Day.
The bike was listed for a 24 hour auction and there was a panic to try and get the local police informed. Unfortunately there were no police in Hertford to respond because of a much publicised drowning fatality in Bishops Stortford.
“As a result, we took the only course of action we could think of, we arranged to buy the bike from the thieves at the Baldock Service station on the A1”
The local police in Baldock had been informed, and they attended, but unfortunately due to a mix up, they weren’t able to apprehend the thieves with the bike and they got away. Members of the STW community spotted the car going South on the A1 and a car chase ensued, without the help of the police. Unfortunately the thieves got away.
“It was insane, the thieves drove into the services and I could see my bike in the back of their car, then something must have spooked them and they sped off before the police could respond. A few of us tried our best to chase them down the A1, but they got off the main road and we lost them outside Buntingford.”
With Tony’s bike gone and with no other leads, it was a difficult time for everyone involved.
A few very well know bike firms stepped in with offers of help and support for Tony, and their support is really appreciated.
Hertford Police came to visit Tony to offer their support and apologies for the mix up in Baldock, and when presented with a picture of the thieves car with Tony’s bike in the back, they were able to take action. They arrested one man who admitted a charge of handling stolen goods, but he said that they had dumped the Demo 9 somewhere between Buntingford and Hertford. To all intents and purposes, the bike was gone.
A couple of days later another STW forum member who shall remain nameless contacted the ebay seller and offered £600 for the bike. Amazingly he got an email back saying that the bike was still for sale and that he could meet the seller for the hand over. Now it was time to get the Hertford Police involved, as they had promised to do whatever they could to help, especially after the mix up in Baldock.
Obviously for legal reasons we can’t go into the specifics of what happened, but the thieves were met by five plain clothes CID officers and two squad cars. To date Eight people have been arrested, charged and bailed in connection to the case, and the Police have informed us that the charges pertain to high end bike theft, motorcycle and car thefts and handling/distributing stolen goods. Tony got his Demo 9 back just before the New Year, and it rounded off a challenging year on something of a high.
“It seems like with the help of all my online friends in UK cycling community, we’ve broken up a gang of thieves operating in the area. I just hope that they can be kept of the streets so that nobody else has to go through what I went through over the Christmas period. Its certainly a Christmas I’ll remember… I can’t thank everyone enough, and I can’t possibly attempt to name everyone here that offered me their support. You all know who you are, and I can truly say that the Online UK cycling community is amazing. Thank you all so much.”
UK Bike Skills is forging ahead for 2010 and putting the events over Christmas behind them, as such, they have released their group coaching dates for January 2010:
- 7th January: Beginner session.
- 9th January: Ladies only coaching day.
- 13th January: Beginner/Intermediate.
- 18th January: Beginner/Intermediate.
- 22nd January: Intermediate/Advanced.
- 23rd January: Junior Session.
- 30th January: Ladies only coaching day
Private group session and one to one dates available on request.