Stowmarket mum turns Facebook detective

Sgt Alistair Torkington with Kirsty Fenner
Sgt Alistair Torkington with Kirsty Fenner
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A mother’s detective skills paid off this week when her Facebook appeal – shared more than 5,000 times in 24 hours – helped lead police to her son’s stolen bike.

Kirsty Fenner’s autistic son phoned her ‘in a panic’ on Monday when he realised his custom-built BMX bike had been stolen from the back of West Suffolk College, in Bury St Edmunds.

The 16-year-old mechanics student had spent two years building the bike which was one of only around 30 in the country to have an Impurity Ashleigh Finley frame.

Kirsty, 38, said: “It wiped his day out at college because he was completely unfocused. It only takes one thing like that – to you and me it’s just a bike but to him it’s his whole world so I knew the knock-on effects it would have.”

Determined to find it, she launched a crime-fighting campaign, alerting all the local bike shops and posting news of the theft ‘on every Facebook page from here to Cambridge’.

Within 24 hours, police, acting on information she had gathered, were able to retrieve the bike from Haverhill.

Its bottle green frame and distinctive red, green and yellow spokes had been sprayed black ‘in an attempt to disguise it’.

Kirsty, a mother-of-four from Stowmarket, said: “It was the power of Facebook and social media that made it difficult for them (the thieves). They thought they were going to nick a bike and that would be it – they didn’t expect it to be plastered everywhere. I think it was the hottest bike in Haverhill!”

She added: “I was overwhelmed by the response. It was amazing that people made such an effort and cared so much. It showed there are good people out there.”

Sgt Alistair Torkington was ‘very pleased’ to be able to return the bike on Wednesday.

He said: “Our investigation is ongoing and we are looking to make arrests in the area.”

Bike thefts are on the rise in Bury, with 65 reported in the town between January 1 and November 24 last year compared with 47 and 50 for the same period in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Police will be holding cycle security marking sessions, where cyclists can get their bikes marked free of charge, from 2.30-3.30pm tomorrow (January 25) at the Bury Central SNT office on Angel Hill, Bury.