'They essentially did nothing': Cyclist who spent £6,000 and went to Poland to get his stolen bikes back slams police

11 September 2023, 19:13 | Updated: 11 September 2023, 19:48

Damian Groves retrieved his bikes himself
Damian Groves retrieved his bikes himself. Picture: Instagram/LBC

By Kit Heren

A cyclist who spent £6,000 and travelled over 1,000 miles to recover his four stolen bikes worth £45,000 has said that police "essentially did nothing".

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Damian Groves' bikes were stolen by burglars who broke into his parents' house in Staffordshire, where they were being stored.

He was forced to take matters into his own hands because of what he described as police inaction.

He told LBC's Andrew Marr on Monday: "It just got super frustrating.

"I thought I knew who the culprits were and the police weren’t doing anything."

Mr Groves said that one PC wanted to help, but his supervisors didn't let him work on it properly.

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Cyclist spent £6K to find stolen bikes

Officers "essentially didn’t really do anything," Mr Groves said.

The cyclist asked around locally and was given the names of some locals who had allegedly carried out the burglaries as an opportunistic theft.

After Mr Groves and his partner posted about the thefts online, he was contacted by someone who claimed to know where they were.

They demanded £300 for their return. A desperate Mr Groves went along with his plan, leaving £300 in an alleyway, but to no avail.

The crook then sent his daughter to Mr Groves' address, asking for another £200. The cyclist ignored the request.

Damian Groves
Damian Groves. Picture: LBC

Later, he said he was contacted by a Hungarian cyclist who told him he was certain he had seen his bikes listed on a Polish site.

A private investigator he had hired tracked the bikes down to an address in Leicestershire and used a drone to hover above the alleged thief's back garden and saw bike parts. "It was painfully obvious," he said.

They worked out that the man had been selling bikes in Poland.

Mr Groves finally took matters into his own hands and went to Poland himself, after hiring an intermediary to get hold of the bikes for him. He returned with all four stolen bikes 48 hours later.

Damian Groves
Damian Groves. Picture: Instagram

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police said: "We were first called to an address in Newcastle-under-Lyme on Sunday June 25 following reports of theft.

"The victim, a man in his 30s, reported that four high-value mountain bikes had been stolen from the address.

"We began investigating and were following several lines of inquiry.

"Then, on 17 August, we were notified that the stolen bikes had been returned to the owner.

"We are sorry to hear our actions to date have not met the expectations of the victim; however, we have conducted a number of enquiries and the investigation remains ongoing.

"We are still keen to speak to anyone with any information which may be able to help us with our investigation."