Kelston Chorley, 67, was devastated when his bike was stolen and police closed his case, so he started his own investigation and tracked the bike to Romania
A man left devastated when police said they couldn’t get his stolen motorbike back so he launched his own investigation – and tracked the vehicle down to Romania.
Kelston Chorley, 67, was furious when his AJP PR7 bike was stolen from his garage and reported it to Thames Valley Police – but said all they did was ‘log the crime’ without ever looking into it.
It was then flown out of the country by thieves and ended up on the streets of a small village north of the capital Bucharest – 1,700 miles from his home in Oxford.
But after seeing it for sale on social media, Kelston jumped straight on a flight to try and get it back, and with the help of local police in Romania, he has now been reunited with it and is in the process of getting it transported back home.
Kelston said: “I spoke to the police over here and they weren’t interested, I spoke to my insurance company and they weren’t interested.
“So basically people can nick bikes, ship them off to Eastern Europe and no one really is going to bother doing anything about it.
“When I got to the main Romanian police station in the capital they said that the best people to handle it would be the local police stations, and they were absolutely right.
“It’s like the UK was in the 70’s – you had a bobby on the beat and he knew what was around.
“So when I arrived at this local police station and looked at the website to see where it was, they said they could get it all nailed down and they did – they had it sorted in less than 24 hours.”
The bike, which remains in Romania but is now in storage, was previously used by Kelston to ride across the Atacama Desert.
It was stolen in July last year but Kelston has now documented his journey to Romania last month to retrieve it on a YouTube video – which has now garnered more than 25,000 views.
He added: “I expected it to be an eventful journey but not necessarily with a happy ending. I didn’t expect to find it.
“I thought I’d get to the place – which I knew would be a pretty small place – and they’d try and find this person and reach a dead end or the person wasn’t there, or they’d pull the advert off the site and it would come to nothing.
“Once they worked out who the man who had the bike was, they just went over there and there was the bike.”
Kelston said he even met the man who had the bike, which he said was ‘really weird’.
He added: “We shook hands and he said he’d like to buy the bike off me. I said, ‘well that’s not going to happen’.
“He was generally quite open and chatty and to be honest. I’m not sure if the police actually charged him. I think the arrangement was, come and bring the bike and we’ll call it quits.
“He was very surprised to get caught out – I have to say – he was not expecting that.”
Kelston now has to try and arrange for the bike to be shipped back to the UK.
What Kelston says he has learnt from the extraordinary experience is that recovering a vehicle once it has been stolen is a very difficult task.
“It’s a very complicated process, that is the issue. I’m not quite sure what the bottom line is going to be.
“Recovering a stolen vehicle that used to belong to you is not a simple or easy matter, It’s hard enough in this country and it seems to be pretty rare that you recover it.
“When I spoke to the insurers the response seems to be that they don’t really know how to deal with it because it’s not something they normally come across.
“People don’t usually go chasing after their stolen vehicles and find them.”