A DARLINGTON mother has been praised for her persistence after tracking down an an off-road motorbike stolen from her shed.
The blue and white Yamaha bike was stolen from Kirsty McStravick's shed on June 19.
She was determined to find it and started scouring Facebook and eBay in case it was offered for sale.
Sure enough, a few weeks later, she noticed photos and a description of the bike on a Facebook account belonging to a man in Middlesbrough.
She passed the details to police in Darlington and Detective Constable Ian Banham liaised with Cleveland Police to help identify the suspect.
He travelled to a house in Middlesbrough in an attempt to recover the bike.
When the house was searched, there was no trace of the bike or of the man who had offered it for sale, although it seemed clear the photos of the bike which had been posted on Facebook had been taken at that location.
Two days later, Mrs McStravick found the bike again, on another Facebook account.
She posed as a potential customer to arrange a meeting the next day, but a police officer went instead.
The seller was found to be a 17-year-old from Middlesbrough.
He was arrested for handling stolen goods, however the bike was not in his possession as he had been asked to sell it on behalf of someone else.
After being released from custody the youth said he would be able to have the bike returned.
Two days later the bike was ready for collection.
Mrs McStravick and Det Con Banham collected the bike from Middlesbrough and found it had sustained some minor damage, but was otherwise in one piece.
Police accepted the youth’s account that he had limited knowledge of where the bike had come from and had not been involved in the burglary to the shed.
As he also had no previous convictions the matter was resolved through a restorative approach, which involved him writing a letter of apology for his involvement and he was not charged with any offence.
Det Con Banham said: "The bike was recovered thanks to Kirsty’s determination and willingness to spend a lot of time looking for it on social media.
"We are really pleased with the positive outcome."
Mrs McStravick said she was pleased her persistence paid off.