Newcastle stolen bikes offered on Gumtreepoll

REUNITED: Jim Plummer with his bicycle, retrieved after Newcastle Herald coverage of its theft. He is critical of the ‘unregulated’ nature of Gumtree.MARYVILLE man Jim Plummer has been reunited with his stolen bike, after police retrieved it from a house in Cardiff on Wednesday afternoon.

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Mr Plummer’s plight was reported in Wednesday’s Newcastle Herald, a factor that led directly to the location of the bike.

But it may have also shone a light on an organised pattern of bike theft, after a Newcastle woman, Toni Church, found her son’s stolen pushbike advertised on Gumtree in the same manner as Mr Plummer’s had been.

To further cement the links, a comparison of photographs confirmed that the second bike had been advertised for sale with Mr Plummer’s seat attached.

The other Gumtree bike

But while Mr Plummer has his bike back, Ms Church has not been so lucky, and said on Thursday that the police were either powerless or not interested in doing anything.

“They went to the house and asked him and he told them that he had sold it, and that was it,” Ms Church said.

As the Herald reported on Thursday, Mr Plummer’s bike had been secured by two stainless steel rope locks on the footpath outside the Kent Hotel in Hamilton during Carnivale two weekends ago.

A friend had noticed it advertised for sale on Gumtree, but when Mr Plummer went to the police with photos of the Gumtree ad and proof of his ownership, he says they told him it would take too long to get permission to do anything about it, by which time the bike would be gone.

Frustrated, he turned to the Herald, which led to the return of the bike.

The Herald article also attracted Ms Church’s attention, after her son’s bike went missing from outside the University of Newcastle’s Auckland Street, Newcastle, campus.

It, too, had been secured by a stainless steel cable, which had been cut in a similar manner to Mr Plummer’s.

Although there were similarities in the thefts, it was not until Ms Church said that the seat on her son’s bike had been changed –and the new one had a rip with green foam showing through –that it became obvious that the two thefts were linked.

Both victims want Gumtree and similar sites regulated in the same way as pawn shops to cut down the trade of stolen goods.