The video they shared shows the upturned Triumph being set alight, while a youth wearing a helmet and track suit gestures at the camera. In a particularly cruel manner, they tagged the owner in the comments section.
The 1951 Triumph Thunderbird is said to be worth between £7,000 and £10,000.
Just a day before, the gang had bragged on Instagram about having the bike, and posted: “If [the owner] wants it back he gotta pay or it gets burnt.”
Officers from Somerset and Avon Constabulary working on Operation Buell – which tackles motorcycle theft in Bristol – were able to identify the bike’s location and recover it soon after the video was posted.
Inspector Rob Cheeseman, who leads Operation Buell, said: ‘We are really disappointed and frustrated at the sequence of events and sympathise deeply with the victim, who we have been working alongside ever since the bike was stolen last week.”
“Our sole aim from the outset was to get the bike back undamaged which unfortunately hasn’t happened. However, the bike isn’t too badly damaged and it is hoped it can be fully restored. We also have a number of investigative leads which are being fully explored – this is still very much a live investigation.” He asked people to stop sharing and commenting on the social media posts.
“We are of course aware of the social media accounts and the way the thieves have been goading and taunting the community with their criminal behaviour, and we are investigating as far as possible any leads from this activity.” he said.
“However, it is worth stating that the more their antics are shared, discussed and publicised, the more they will continue to use the accounts, as they are getting the reaction that they crave.”The owner now has the bike back in his possession, and hopes to restore it to its former glory.
“The bike has now (thankfully) been recovered with great work by ASP [Avon & Somerset Police]. It’s in a safe location and being checked over. I’m not going to comment on its condition.", said Inspector Cheeseman.
“There is an astronomical amount of resources allocated to this investigation.” “The owner does NOT want any hunting parties or vigilante action off the back of this theft! He is fully supportive of the police investigation as, like me, he knows a lot more than the public know and is satisfied with what is occurring.”
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