Sussex NHS worker reunited with stolen motorbike thanks to ‘phenomenal’ community

An NHS worker has been reunited with his stolen motorbike thanks to the hard and kind efforts of the community.

Ian Evans woke up on Friday morning (April 10), to find his green Triumph Sprint 955i motorbike had been pinched by thieves.

The 53-year-old NHS healthcare scientist, who works at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, took to Twitter to share his devastation and asked people to keep an eye out for it.

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And in just a few hours his tweet was shared by more than 5,000 people – including by famous author JK Rowling, who has more than 14million followers.

Ian Evans (inset) and his motorbike before it was stolen

The dad-of-two said: “It has been a very humbling and emotional week and has shown how special our community really is.

“The bike was spotted on a number of occasions, but a lovely couple – Ann and Dave – identified my bike on Sunday in the Coldean area of Brighton. They contacted me via their son on Twitter and sent a picture of the registration.

“I, with the brilliant assistance of Sussex Stolen Bikes, picked up the bike and have now stored it in a friend’s garage.

“Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of cosmetic damage and I’m not sure if there is any structural damage – I just need a mechanic to give the ‘once over’ to make sure it is structurally sound.

Ian Evans

“Sourcing parts will be difficult, but hopefully I will get what is needed.”

Ian, who lives in Brighton, said he has been inundated with messages from people offering to help after hearing about the theft.

“The response has just been phenomenal,” the NHS worker of 20 years said.

“People have been offering to lend me cars and I have had so many offers of motorbikes, it is remarkably humbling,

Ian's motorbike

“A chap from Worthing even offered to give me a lift to work this weekend. It has been so emotional – I’ve been blubbering like a baby!”

He said the people of Sussex had managed to lift his spirits during what had been a difficult week

“I lost one of my members of staff this week to pancreatic cancer and a colleague lost her dad to coronavirus,” he said.

“It has been an emotional rollercoaster, so to get these messages is absolutely wonderful. I just never expected this response. We really are seeing the best in people at this time. I hope it continues way past this pandemic.”

Ian's damaged motorbike following the theft

It is not the first time Ian has lost a bike. In February last year, his motorbike worth £16,000 was stolen. This led him to buy this cheaper one, worth £1,500.

“I got something cheap and ugly so no-one would steal it!” Ian said, adding: “So I felt a bit numb when I discovered it had been stolen – and I just thought, why?”

Ian, who works for the Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust, manages a team of 60 people who, he said, were feeling scared and apprehensive amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“They have never experienced this type of environment before,” he commented.

“Some staff are off sick, are stressed or in isolation. It is emotionally challenging and everything takes much, much longer.

“But despite the challenges, my team is coming to work everyday. The admiration for my team is limitless.”

Fighting a pandemic is not new for Ian, who did two tours in Sierra Leone as the country battled Ebola. But the Covid-19 outbreak has been challenging, he said, such as ensuring staff have enough personal protective equipment (PPE).

He said he was sincerely grateful for what so many people have offered and done for him, adding: “I don’t know how I can repay their faith in me. I will most certainly do all I can and will continue to do so.”