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Despair as raiders steal 50 bikes from Bradford Bandits club
Thieves branded “the lowest of the low” stole 50 specialist BMX racing bikes owned by a volunteer-run community group.
Bradford Bandits BMX Racing Club says it will cost £10,000 to replace the bikes, which were taken overnight on Sunday from a locked Bradford Council depot at Peel Park in Bolton Road.
Shirley Brown, who started the group ten years ago, said: “Without the bikes we’re a bit up the creek really. I couldn’t believe it. They’ve cleaned us out. Without them we can’t run sessions.”
Children and adults use the bikes during twice-weekly meets at Peel Park, where coaches also offer advice during sessions which cost £2.50. The group is run by volunteers and brought its bikes over a number of years using grant money. Six of the bikes were new and still in their boxes.
Mrs Brown said a garage in the yard containing welding equipment had also been broken into. It is thought the raiders got into the yard by making a hole in a fence and used an angle grinder to get into the containers.
The group started storing the bikes in shipping containers in the Council yard five years ago after helmets were taken from previous storage sheds near the BMX track in the park.
Club chairman and lead coach Ian Thewlis said he was “gutted”. “The bikes were not insured by us as it is impossible to get reasonable cost insurance for containers, so we will have to start again building up the kit,” he said.
But Mr Thewlis said his main concern was the disappointment of those who use the club.
Mrs Brown said it would cost about £10,000 for replacement equipment.
“We’re going to be struggling to replace them at the moment,” she said. “We’ll have to start over again.
“It’s devastating for everybody. This will certainly affect young children who come down that can’t afford to buy their own equipment, who we loan bikes to.
“There’s not a lot in the winter for children to do. That’s one reason we put floodlights around the track so we could run sessions year round. It’s going to be devastating for them.
“The young children enjoy coming down to the track.”
She said money the club had was earmarked for track maintenance work.
Mr Thewlis said: “I just think they are the lowest of the low. Why would you do that? If they wanted to ride a BMX bike they could have come and tried one with us.”
The club has frame numbers logged and is urging people to contact police if anyone tries to sell them a bike.
The bikes have slimmer wheels and are lighter than normal BMX bikes, in various sizes and colours.
Mrs Brown said: “They’re very specialised bikes. BMX racing bikes are not bikes you would ride on a road or off road.”
Bike makes include Haro, Freeagent, Kuwahara, DK and SE Racing, in sizes called ‘mini’, ‘junior’ and ‘expert’ usually printed on the frame. All have aluminium frames which is not common for mass-market BMX bikes.
A police spokesman said they were called at 7.37am yesterday about an overnight burglary of two outside storage units.
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.