A TEENAGER has praised the power of social media after it helped track down his stolen bike... but he still needs help to find the on-the-run thieves.

Mechatronics student Billy Wilson, 19, was left devastated when he returned from a trip into Southend town centre to find his beloved Lexmoto Vixen had gone from Warrior Square.

Southend Standard:

He said: “My first thought was ‘Oh maybe I didn’t park it here’ but I knew I had.

“I called the police straight away and, because it’s not an emergency, gave a witness statement over the phone but I really didn’t know much. The crime bureau told me it could take five to seven days to get back to me and that’s when I felt I had to take matters into my own hands.”

Billy, who lives in Southend, shared a picture of his bike in a Facebook group and was soon bombarded with photos from people who had spotted it around the Southend and Rochford areas after it was stolen on Saturday.

He added: “I was inundated with CCTV images which did lift my spirits a bit but I still wasn’t sure whether I would ever see it again.

“People were spotting it throughout Saturday but then it went cold again on Sunday. Then finally someone said it had been dumped in the Temple Farm Industrial Estate.

“I was relieved to get it back but they have left it in a right state. They’ve broken the ignition, done something to the battery and damaged the fuel filter cap. My bike is my main mode of transport so with the added expense of getting to college and the repairs, their joy ride has left me quite a bit out of pocket.

“I’ve had a few names from people and there definitely seems to be a gang going on a horrific spree and stealing bikes and mopeds. It’s just not fair.

“I have handed all the evidence to the police and I hope they are punished.”

Anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101 quoting 42/37651/19.

Southend Standard:

Southend Standard:

Suspects - Billy’s stolen motorbike was spotted across Southend

Southend Standard:

Discovered - Billy Wilson's motorbike