POLICE have been criticised for failing to reunite a drummer with a stolen piece of kit being kept by a resident just two minutes walk away.

Thieves snatched the drum from Martin Smith’s van in Marston Road in January but threw it into a nearby garden in Lynn Close.

The resident of that house, who would not be named, said he called police repeatedly to collect the £200 floor tom kit and later took it to a police station himself.

But he said he was told he could keep it because such a length of time had passed.

A “gobsmacked” Mr Smith, 50, then heard that his drum was being kept two minutes away as word made its way through Marston about its whereabouts.

But the drumer, out of action for six months with Oxford group Rock N Roll, was then asked to stump up £30 by the finder for his trouble.

He said: “I don’t blame the guy for asking me for money, he did try and hand it in, but for some reason the police just wouldn’t take it.

“He could have sold it, and then where would I have been?

“What would it have taken for the police to say ‘your neighbour has got your drum?’ “When the police realised what they had done they kept apologising but that’s not good enough.

“I’ve had about all the apologies I can take, are they going to reimburse me for my wasted time? An apology means nothing.”

The Lynn Close resident who found the drum said: “I even took it to Oxford police station but they wouldn’t take it over the counter.

“They told me to go home and someone would collect it, but that never happened.”

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Rhianne Pope said: “A theft was recorded at that address between midnight on January 16 to 7am on January 17. The crime log was updated on July 3 to say the drums had been returned.”

She said: “We would not respond to a complaint through the media.

“We would encourage anyone who is not happy with the level of service we have given or our response to an inquiry to contact us direct.”

Thames Valley Police asks residents to report lost or found property via the non-emergency number 101.