THE father of a teenage boy whose off-road bike was abandoned after a garage burglary is outraged that he must pay £150 to get it back from a firm storing it on behalf of the police.

Keith Lovejoy, of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is furious that his 17-year-old son Daniel will probably never see the bike again as the charge is more than its value.

He has written to his MP Phil Wilson and County Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg to demand a rethink.

“When Daniel’s bike was stolen he was a victim of crime and now he is a victim of crime again,” said Mr Lovejoy, 43.

“It is outrageous. If we can’t do anything for Daniel so be it but there must be away of overturning this so that victims of crime do not become victim’s of the police.”

The £110 bike was stolen from a garage on Macmillan Road, Newton Aycliffe, on April 30. A second bike owned by Daniel was untouched.

It was dumped next day and a police officer told Mr Lovejoy it would be retrieved by a recovery company, pending forensics.

He said that no mention was made of a charge but five weeks later the family received a letter saying they must pay £150 to get the bike back - a charge which would rise by £10 for every day it remained in storage.

“It has been a while now so the charge will be almost £300,” said Mr Lovejoy. “The letter said it would be sold or scrapped if we didn’t come and get it with two weeks.”

Daniel bought the bike to do up as summer project and is unhappy his plans have been ruined.

A spokesman for Durham Police said that the Contract Vehicle Recovery Scheme is a national scheme adhered to by all police forces and that the fees are set by the Government under the Road Traffic Act and the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles regulations 

Mr Hogg said he sympathised with Mr Lovejoy and other victims of crime.

“This is a national scheme and not a Durham Constabulary initiative,” he said.

"However, I have raised the issue with Durham Constabulary and we are currently reviewing the scheme to see what we can do to help.”