Police recover man’s stolen bike then sell it off

Niall McLeod's bike was stolen.

Niall McLeod's bike was stolen.

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A student has been given compensation after botched police paperwork led to his stolen motorbike being sold to a new owner.

Niall McLeod’s neon green Kawasaki trail bike was stolen from the Caledonian Village, Dalry, in September 2013. Police took details of the vehicle and pledged to keep in touch if they tracked it down – but the 21-year-old lost hope as the months went on.

Student Niall McLeod's neon green Kawasaki trail bike was stolen in September 2013. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Student Niall McLeod's neon green Kawasaki trail bike was stolen in September 2013. Picture: Ian Georgeson

It since emerged that the bike turned up in West Pilton two weeks after the theft – but due to an administration error, Mr McLeod was not notified.

The motorcycle ended up being sold at an auction of unclaimed stolen vehicles – and it is now with a new owner in Galashiels.

Red-faced officers admitted the bike’s VIN number had been taken down wrong, which meant that when the vehicle was found, it did not tally with his details. As it was a trail bike, there was no registration number for police to record.

Mr McLeod has now accepted a £4000 compensation offer from Police Scotland, after refusing to accept an 
initial offer of £1000.

The bike enthusiast, who has just completed his final year of marine biology at Heriot Watt University, said the debacle had been frustrating.

He said: “When I got a phonecall at the end of July last year, saying ‘we might have found your motorbike’, I said, it’s been a fairly long time. I had expected by that point 
that I would never see it again.”

“Apparently they’d written down a number wrong. It’s obviously a case of doing a computer search rather than doing any police work.”

Mr McLeod, who now lives on Glen Street, Tollcross, said Police Scotland “finally admitted” they were in error at the end of January, offering him £1000.

He disputed this after seeking legal advice and just this week accepted a £4000 offer of compensation. A replacement bike will cost between £2800 and £3200, while the remainder of the sum has been given to Mr McLeod “for the inconvenience”.

“It’s coming up for two years ago. It’s been months of me being out of pocket and at a disadvantage,” said Mr McLeod.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm an offer was made to resolve the claim in January 2015 which was repeated in April 2015. This was accepted in an email dated April 30, 2015.”

Police in the Capital have a specialist department tasked with reuniting people with 
stolen property.

When stolen vehicles are recovered, they are handed over to a contracted garage which stores them until they are reunited with their owners.

The investigating officer and the garage attempt to notify the rightful owner, and the owner is traced they are given 21 days to collect the vehicle.

If the vehicles still go unclaimed, they are sold at auction, and the money is held for a year before it is put into public funds.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com