A man has been left out of pocket by £3000 after a thief posing as an interested buyer stole his racing cycle.
The man, who lives in Marston Moretaine, had advertised the carbon fibre Cube bike for sale on the Gumtree site and was contacted by a prospective buyer who made an appointment to view the bike on Wednesday (January 8).
When the buyer turned up on Wednesday evening at about 8.20pm, he was very knowledgeable about racing
bikes and seemed credible and trustworthy.
However, he asked to test the bike out in the cul-de-sac where the seller lives and then when the seller’s back was turned to shut his van door, the thief simply hopped on the bike and rode off at speed.
Despite a search of the area, the bike and thief were not seen again.
A laptop bag, which was left with the seller as collateral, turned out to have been recently bought from an Oxfam shop and contained only books.
The bike is a Cube Litening 20-gear carbon fibre race bike, mostly white with secondary colours being red and blue.
It is branded with both make and model graphics and each of the high specification parts has a unique serial number.
The seller contacted other people selling similar bikes on the Gumtree site and found someone who had been visited in a similar way by a buyer fitting the same description.
On that occasion however the buyer was not allowed to ride the bike and so went away empty handed.
The thief is described as a mixed race man, about 35 years old, well spoken, professional appearance with a local accent but possibly with a South African twang.
He claimed to have travelled from Richmond on the train to Marston but it’s likely this is not the case and that he could be part of a wider group who are targeting high value cycles for parts or re-sale.
PC Julie Jennings is investigating this case and would like to hear from anyone who saw the man cycling
through Marston or who has been contacted in a similar way.
She said: “We do want to make people aware that it’s possible there’s someone using sites to identify, locate and steal high value, high specification cycles such as this.
“While most buyers will be genuine, it’s always worth having someone with you when you do any sort of transaction with people who you don’t know.
“A few simple precautions can go a long way to preventing this sort of headache for innocent sellers.”
PC Jennings can be reached via the 24-hour police non-emergency number 101, or text the control room direct on 07786 200011, or contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.