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August 3 2012.

A dedicated police officer and a PCSO managed to track down and find a bike that had been stolen from a 15-year-old boy whilst he was on his paper round.

Tom Early leant his bike against a post in Avondale Road, Seaford, at about 5.40pm yesterday, whilst he went to put a newspaper through the door. When he returned, an opportunist thief had taken it.

At the same time, PCSO Steve Carter and PC Stuart Hyde were on duty and saw two youths at Blatchington Pond with a cycle. On returning to the police station, they read the report of the theft and realised that the bike they had just seen matched the description of the one that had been stolen.

Steve said: "After reading the report, Stu and I made it our mission to hunt down and find the bike for Tom.

"After a couple of hours we'd searched all the known areas where youths in the town may have gone and thought that we'd reached a dead end. But we continued and our efforts finally paid off when we saw the two youths we'd seen earlier with the bike at Tesco Express.

"On stopping and speaking with the youths it soon became apparent that the bike did not belong to either of them. One of them admitted to having found it and decided he was going to keep it for himself. This resulted in him receiving a fixed penalty notice for £80."

The officers returned to the police station and contacted Tom's dad, Simon, to tell him it had been recovered and to arrange its return.

When they arrived at Tom's house, he was naturally delighted to have his bike back and his dad was equally pleased with the service he had received, which he said was "above and beyond" what he expected.

"We were just pleased that our determination paid off in the end and we were able to return the stolen bike to it's rightful owner," added Steve. "This was community policing at its best!"