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Caithness man had custom-made bike stolen in Inverness when he was undergoing radiotherapy treatment for cancer

By Gordon Calder

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Hugh Caves on a trip with his Mercian bike.
Hugh Caves on a trip with his Mercian bike.

A Caithness man whose expensive custom-made bicycle was stolen in Inverness when he was undergoing radiotherapy treatment for cancer is "appalled" by the way the police handled his case.

Hugh Caves, who lives in Thurso, is unhappy with the police response to the incident which happened a month ago and feels he was "snubbed".

The retired Dounreay worker reported the theft to the police but had heard little since, although he recently was told his details have been passed to another police officer who is to look at video footage caught by security cameras at the car park where the bike was left.

Mr Caves took the Mercian bicycle with him in his car when he went to Raigmore Hospital to start his four-week radiotherapy treatment which finished on September 25. He was staying at the nearby Kyle Court and planned to do a bit of cycling during his time in the Highland capital.

On September 13, he cycled to Inshes to do some shopping and left the bike at the car park – but when he returned about 30 minutes later it was gone.

"I was pretty gutted when I found the bike was stolen," he said. "I have been having a hard time of late and that made it even harder.

"I am appalled by the service I got from the police and have lodged a complaint. I have still to get a crime report serial number which I need for insurance purposes. They should at least have issued me with the number.

"I feel the service is not as good as it used to be and would say the police are back-pedalling on what they should be doing. They were lackadaisical in responding to this theft, although that could be to do with their budgetary position."

Mr Caves, who was 77 last week, described the theft as "opportunistic" but does not think the bike could be sold as it is so "special and distinctive" and that model is no longer made by the manufacturer in Derby.

"It is very recognisable and nothing from it could be transferred to a modern bike," he said. "I view the theft as being analogous to stealing a Morris Minor car."

But Mr Caves is not hopeful of getting the bike back. "It is probably gone but I hope the police will look at the security footage and see if they can identify the culprit," he said.

The incident comes at a time when Police Scotland axed plans to recruit 200 extra officers because of budget cuts. Concerns are also being expressed about public safety while police in some parts of the country have decided not to investigate certain crimes due to a lack of resources.

Police Scotland said officers have since had further contact with Mr Caves.

A spokesperson said: “We were made aware of the theft of a bike from the Inshes area of Inverness around 3.40pm on Wednesday, September 13.

“A 43-year-old man is being reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with the incident.”

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