A TEENAGER was forced to pay £150 to have his stolen motorbike returned despite the vehicle being found by police just down the road from his house.

Mason Carr’s motorbike was found dumped in a field near his Brickfields home hours after being stolen from his driveway in the early hours of Monday (April 8).

The 17-year-old suffers from Tourette’s, dyspraxia and anxiety, and had saved up his apprenticeship wages to buy the 125cc scrambler, worth around £900, two months before.

His mum Tara Carr said: “My son has been penalised twice – once by the thieves who stole it and once by the police.”

She said they reported the theft on Monday morning before searching the area themselves, but the bike was found by officers just a few hundred yards away.

A recovery firm was alerted, and the bike was impounded, with the fee then due from Mason as the registered keeper.

“They could have told us, it was down the road,” said Mrs Carr. “If they had called to say it’s just down the road, we could have collected it for free.”

She continued: “It’s obviously their protocol and the police did a fantastic job finding it, but he has been penalised twice through no fault of his own and the thieves have got away with it.

“I’m sure this must have happened to lots of other people but why should this be acceptable?”

She said people in “much worse situations than us” are likely to have been stung by such protocol, using the hypothetical example of a hard-up family whose only car is stolen and recovered by police.

She said: “They have called in a recovery truck or however they do it, and the recovery people charge the police, otherwise they don’t get the money. I understand that because they need the money for doing their job, but it sucks as he’s only 17.”

Mrs Carr said police told them the bike would be scrapped if the recovery fee wasn’t paid but they would still be billed £150 either way.

“We decided we might as well have it back, but it is absolutely trashed. It’s ridiculous,” she continued.

With his mum having paid off the bill on a credit card, Mason is now left again having to save up his wages from his apprentice job in IT technical support to either repair the bike, which he estimates could be a couple of hundred, or get a new one.

Mason said: “If I had had fully comp insurance, I might have been covered for this, but I didn’t. On my apprenticeship wage I can’t afford fully comp insurance, it was a grand-and-a-half or something for a year of insurance on a bike.”

He added: “It’s not like we think we are some special case and no-one else has ever had anything stolen. It’s not about it being stolen, I’ve been done wrong and have to pay the consequences of their wrongdoing.”

Referring to the theft itself, Mrs Carr said: “It was parked behind the hedges so nobody could see it from the road or anything and it had the steering lock on.

"They’ve stripped all the wheels. The exhaust had a cover on. They've taken all the lights and cut the wiring. It's unrecognisable."

She said: “It is his independence that was stolen. He suffers with anxiety, Tourette’s and dyspraxia. It gave him the confidence to be able to go and do things on his own.

“Before getting a bike, it was difficult for him to walk down the street without anyone with him.”

Mason went on to say: “If I’m on a road and no-one’s around I get anxious. It used to really freak me out. It kind of helped me process everything and give me more confidence, it wasn’t just about being able to get from place to place.”

Mason wanted to stress that he appreciated how personal the police were with him, keeping him updated throughout Monday.

PC Allan Figueiredo, of Gorse Hill and Rainbow Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “A motorcycle was sighted being driven by two youths without helmets who then made off from the officers.

“The officers were following the possible route the bike had taken when a member of the public pointed out where the bike had gone. When the officers arrived, they found that it had been ditched.

“At the time there was no distinguishing marks available and so recovery was arranged so that it could be forensically looked at.

“The chassis number was then located, and it was then identified as being the stolen motorcycle that was reported.

“A call was made to the registered keeper to confirm that it had been found and that it had been recovered.

“Unfortunately, it is force policy that the cost of the recovery is down to the registered keeper of the vehicle.”