An OAP who had his bike swiped from a bus station went undercover to get it back – after spotting it for sale on eBay.
Keen cyclist Andrew Livesey, 66 used the internet auction site to track down his stolen wheels after the £600 Saracen Zen 1 disappeared.
White forks on the bike had been painted black and new stickers had been slapped on it, but Andrew recognised it as his own – spotting a yellow valve cap he had recently fitted after he lost the original.
Angry Andrew, of Herne Bay, Kent, took matters into his own hands, calling the seller and arranging to meet him at his home in Margate.
After examining the stolen bike the pensioner asked the thief if he could step outside for 10 minutes to think about the buy.
Instead the undercover buyer called the cops and within minutes three police cars came to his aid and the seller was arrested.
The company director, who had offered a #200 reward for the return of the bike, said: “I was working out the plan as I went down there.
“I knew it was mine when I saw it and you could even see the black paint in the man’s flat.
“I said I was interested in buying the bike, but just wanted to have 10 minutes outside to think about it. That’s when I phoned the police.
“Next thing I know there were three police cars down there and they arrested the bloke.
“I had to go to Margate police station, Kent and pick up my bike and now it’s back home.
“There was a bit of damage where the locks were removed but it’s going to be fine.”
Det Supt Leigh Marshall, of the British Transport Police, said a 26-year-old man from Margate was arrested and later released without charge.
He said: “Our enquiries continue. If you saw anything suspicious at the time or have been offered a bike matching the description for sale, please get in touch.”