Carla Vega found her stolen bicycle at a flea market.
The 32-year-old pediatric nurse, from Shoreditch, said: â€œI always locked my bike to drain pipe on the walkway in front of my flat and kept it there overnight.
â€œAlthough you have to have a key to get entry in to the complex a lot of people manage to fool their way in by saying theyâ€™ve forgotten it. Someone got in at some point in the evening and took it.
â€œIt was devastating when I found out it had been stolen. I use my bike to get to work in Kensington every day so it really is a lifeline.
Carla immediately called the police, who suggested going to the nearest market to see whether the bike was there.
She said: â€œI went to a flea market close to Shoreditch High Street station on Sunday and, amazingly, I found it attached to a second-hand bike stall. I knew it was mine because the seat had a very distinctive cigarette burn on it.â€
Carla sought the help of some passing police officers who were inspecting other bikes at the market.
She said: â€œThey checked my crime number and approached the vendor, who completely denied ownership of the bike and said it had been tied to the side of the stall by someone else.
â€œUnfortunately this meant there was no prosecution â€“ but I was able to get my bike back.â€
She added: â€œIf you ever have your bike stolen, look at the places it might be resold â€“ including the internet.
â€œIf possible, always store your bike indoors and keep a record of the frame number.â€