A Partridge Green cyclist found herself embarking on a ‘wild goose chase’ after her bike was taken from outside her home and swapped for another.
Jeanette Masters, of St George’s Road, said she was ‘gutted’ when she awoke on Saturday July 27 to find her Rockrider missing.
But the generous thief had left a men’s mountain bike in its place.
“I thought someone was messing around, because a lot of people know I cycle,” said the 46-year-old.
She sought help from her neighbour Lisa Bridle who kindly posted an appeal on social media website Facebook that morning.
Not long after James Pannell, a former student of Steyning Grammar School where Jeanette teaches who also lives in the village, got in touch to claim the bike.
But it looked like the thief had given James an upgrade, as a motorbike had been left in his street, said Jeanette.
The following day news came through via Facebook as to the whereabouts of her bike.
A message suggested it was abandoned in the village high street.
She was soon reunited with her two-wheeled friend.
It was resting against a fence alongside another bike - the owner of which has not yet come forward.
“It was all a bit of a wild goose chase,” said Jeanette, who cycles around four times a week to stay in shape.
Asked if the she thought it was people having a laugh, she replied: “Well if it was it’s not very funny.”
Jeanette thanked her neighbour.
The Horsham Facebook page has been littered with pictures and descriptions of abandoned and possibly stolen bikes in recent weeks.
Under the re-post headline ‘sadly another bike stolen’ there is an appeal for a red and grey Carrera Vengeance.
It is believed the bicycle was stolen from outside Sainsbury’s in Horsham some time in the last week.
Owner Liam issued a plea on the site for cyclists to be aware of the recent spate of thefts which has plagued Horsham town.
He said: “It had a cable lock going through both wheels and the bike park! Please be careful people, they will do any thing to get they’re hands on them, it was a £400 bike and only a couple of months old.”
Horsham police are investigating a number of bike thefts.
Anyone who witnesses a theft should dial 999. Members of the public can call 101 to report retrospective crime.