POLICE refused to do anything to help a victim of theft despite having CCTV footage of the crime taking place.

Solicitor David Bailey had his £1,000 mountain bike stolen by thieves who first removed the saddle so he could not ride it home, then returned at night to cut through the bike’s heavy-duty lock and chain.

Despite the crime taking place in full view of police-controlled CCTV cameras in Old Steine, Mr Bailey claims police have refused to review the tape.

The force said using staff time to watch the tape covering the 7pm to 8am window during which the crime took place was “not proportionate to the nature of the offence.”

When Mr Bailey offered to watch the footage himself, to help identify the culprit and potentially recover his stolen property, he says the police 101 operator refused and then suggested Mr Bailey ask a nearby supermarket for its CCTV tapes.

Mr Bailey , who works at Healy’s LLP in Old Steine, cycled to work as usual on Tuesday, August 8.

When he left the office at 7pm, thieves had taken the saddle from his bike, forcing him to abandon it overnight.

He said he has since heard this may be a technique used by professional bike thieves to force owners to leave their bikes overnight.

He left his the bike locked securely to a bike rack with a silver-category Kryptoflex chain made of 10mm braided steel cable.

By the next morning the bike had disappeared. He reported the crime to the police immediately and they confirmed their CCTV cameras covered the location.

He said: “They asked me when it was stolen. I told them between 7pm and 8am. They said, ‘That period is too long for us to review the CCTV so we won’t be doing it’.

“So I said I’d review it but they said ‘no’. Someone is turning up with bolt cutters, in a van probably. This wasn’t an opportunistic crime, this was premeditated.

“I’m disappointed that the police reaction was, ‘We won’t be taking this any further’.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “CCTV covering the area was not checked because the use of staff time to search 12 hours of recordings was assessed in this case as not proportionate to the nature of the offence.”

He added that although Mr Bailey might be “disappointed” by this, “we do have to manage our resources to prioritise the most serious types of crime affecting the public.”

Sussex Police included a link to a page on their website with information on how to prevent bike thefts. It includes the advice: “If you can, lock your bike at recognised secure cycle parking it should be well lit and covered by CCTV.”

The force also asked people to continue to report crimes, “so that we can identify any trends and focus our operations accordingly”.