A REMORSEFUL robber has returned a haul of five stolen bike wheels just hours after the Evening News highlighted the work of the thief.
Residents of an East Claremont Street tenement were stunned to wake yesterday morning to find the wheels had been returned overnight.
Five front wheels plus seat posts and saddles were all removed from bikes chained up in the stairwell of the building last Tuesday.
Theo Andrew, 35, one of the residents of the East Claremont Street tenement, said he looked out of his window to see the wheels left in a park opposite.
He said: “I was quite surprised. I opened the curtains and could see a whole stack of bike wheels in the park just across the road. When I popped over I realised that they were the wheels that had been taken.
“I’ve since returned them to my neighbours and we’re all glad to have got our items back, even if the seat posts and saddles are still missing. It goes to show the power of the press.”
Theo has his own theory about what drove the thief to return his items – and it’s less to do with a heavy heart and more to do with a thick ear.
He added: “I imagine it was some kid who had told his parents that he was minding the wheels for a friend. However, when the mum or dad saw the paper they put two and two together and, after a clip around the ear, we get our stuff back. It can’t just have been a coincidence.”
This latest theft was one of many recent incidents in city tenements which have seen bikes stripped of whatever parts are not locked down.
As a result, councillors have announced plans to trial secure on-street parking in parts of the Capital.
Officials have identified six suitable sites to test out covered bike huts for residents, which it is hoped will be up and running by spring 2013.
If successful, the £50,000 project could then be rolled out across the city.
Councillor Jim Orr, transport vice-convener, said: “This council is the first in Scotland to start looking at providing covered on-street cycle parking for residents. With all the success of cycling in the Olympics we hope that by actively promoting cycling we can reduce congestion in the city.”
Ian Maxwell, a spokesman for Lothians cycling group Spokes, said: “Spokes has done a lot of work on this because we know from our members that it is a big problem in Edinburgh and we are really pleased that the council has taken on board some of our suggestions.
“Cycle use in Edinburgh is growing but we know tenements and the lack of cycling parking is one of the reasons that stop people, so if this is made to work it could be a real boost to cycle use.”