A man stole back his motorbike from thieves - using a hidden Apple AirTag.

Richard Bagshaw, 47, hid the tiny plastic disc in the seat storage space on his 1100cc TYPE motorbike in case it ever went missing.

So when he discovered his precious two-wheeler was missing from the usual parking spot, he used his iPhone to track it down.

The Northern Echo: Richard Bagshaw.Richard Bagshaw. (Image: SWNS)

The map revealed it was in Guisborough - 10 miles away from his home in the village of Liverton near Saltburn, Teesside.

He found his bike at the back of the home covered in a sheet and parked up to wait for the police to arrive.

He claims the resident refused to answer any police questions but didn't obstruct to the bike being taken back.

The Northern Echo: Richard found his bike at the back of a property covered by sheets.Richard found his bike at the back of a property covered by sheets. (Image: SWNS)

Richard, who is currently between jobs, said: "It was outside in the garden locked up and they came along at night and broke the lock. 

"They rolled off on it and must have got it started.

"I'd had the AirTag on there since September and had it hidden in the bike otherwise people will find it if it's on the outside.

"The thieves wouldn't have been able to sell it - they'd strip it down for parts as it wasn't desirable enough. 

"It's very hard to sell a stolen bike now in full. It's too hot to handle.

The Northern Echo: Richard's motorbike.Richard's motorbike. (Image: SWNS)

"To be honest, my biggest worry was that if one of those lads had hurt himself on that bike, I'd have never forgiven myself. 

"A little millimetre on the throttle and you're dead."

Richard discovered his bike was missing - and went to find it - last April, but is speaking now about the ordeal to help other bikers.

An AirTag is a personal tracking device that allows users to track the location from a phone or tablet.

He says officers initially asked him to ride the bike away, but thanks to a smashed ignition barrel and the bike already being reported as stolen to insurers, he refused.

The bike was eventually picked up by a recovery truck and Richard was able to retrieve his beloved bike from the police compound.

He says the bike was discovered in a home later found to be the hub of a crack cocaine dealing operation with children as young as 12 being exploited.

A few months after Richard's ordeal, Cleveland Police confirmed in a Facebook post the house had been raided and the magistrates' court ordered the flat be closed for three months following reports of anti-social behaviour.

The house was reportedly home to machetes, combat knives and rifles and being used "in a suspected crack cocaine dealing operation" with children as young as 12 being used for drug crimes.

Richard said: "It was obvious what was going on in the house. 

"I was sat there with my eyes on the bike, watching the comings and goings in the house and it was clear they were dealing from the house."

The Facebook post went on to say: "The 50-year-old female tenant has been evicted from the house after magistrates agreed to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s closure order application recently.

"The Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officers started logging reports of anti-social behaviour related to drug dealing in recent months which included suspected drug dealing at all hours, people banging on the windows for deals, reports of knives and a rifle being moved in and out of the property, children being used for suspected drug deals and stolen vehicles and property at the address.

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"A number of police intelligence reports in June – including one which indicated children as young as 12 were being used for drug crimes - led to a raid.

"In total over 25 incidents and police intelligence reports relating to the property were made."

Cleveland Police Inspector Neil Deluce said: "Drug dealing and the almost inevitable associated other crime and anti-social behaviour can cause untold misery to the law-abiding majority in our communities, and we simply will not tolerate this behaviour. 

"We welcome information and evidence from those members of the community who tell us what is happening and who is involved and we use the intelligence provided to take enforcement action."