If you have been unfortunate enough to have had your bike pinched, your worries may not be over if and when the police locate it. Whilst the chances of getting your bike back in one piece following a theft are slim, it does happen. If the police contact you to tell you that they have found your beloved bike, get down to collect it ASAP!
Because our police forces are crime-fighting superheroes and not a storage facility, they will charge you to store any stolen and recovered large items, including cars or motorbikes. You could be facing a bill of £150 upwards as Government legislation found in the Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 2008, gives police the power to charge for all of the above.
The fees are set by the legislation, meaning that they are well within their rights to charge you to not just the flat fee of £150, but also a further £10 per day for the time the bike remains in storage. These additional fees may not be recoverable from your insurance company either, leaving you considerably out of pocket for solving a problem that was not of your own creation.
Worse still, you will need to pay the fees before you are able to take your bike away, meaning that if you can’t afford it, and need to leave the bike in storage for longer, your fees will continue to add up! Eek!
The only time you will not be charged for the privilege of reclaiming what is yours, is if your bike has been seized by the police as part of an ongoing investigation under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).
Be very careful with the definition of an “ongoing investigation” and do not assume that just because the theft of your bike was the crime of the century in your eyes, that the police will actively look for the perpetrators once the bike has been recovered. In fact, most forces consider the case to be closed once the bike has been found.
In this scenario, you will still be liable for recovery and storage fees under the 2008 Act. If there is any doubt about whether they consider the theft of your bike to be an ongoing investigation, ask them! Ascertain whether or not it is being held as evidence under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). If it is not, advise them that you will arrange for collection of the bike yourself, and that you don’t need their help with this part of the process.
Having established that your bike is ready for collection, you need to act quickly to avoid paying fees. The police are duty bound to remain with the bike for a certain period of time to prevent it being stolen again, but they won’t wait for very long. Get yourself down there, quick sharp, and ride it away. Once you are home you can inspect the bike on your own turf.
If the bike is not in a suitable condition to ride, it will be far cheaper and easier to just hire a van, or a trailer and collect the bike yourself. You can then take it straight the garage to be repaired.
As most bikes are recovered within 10 miles of the location from which they were taken, theory has it that it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to reclaim it yourself. By doing so, you can avoid paying recovery and storage fees to the police, as well as being able to get your beloved bike back on the road as quickly as possible.