LOST FOR WORDS

Jonathan Debenham in front of Spen Pool's storage area, after thieves broke in and stole �5,200 worth of cycles used by able bodied and disabled people alike. (d17051243)
Jonathan Debenham in front of Spen Pool's storage area, after thieves broke in and stole �5,200 worth of cycles used by able bodied and disabled people alike. (d17051243)
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thieves who stole bicycles used by disabled people and under-privileged children have been branded “despicable”.

A dozen bikes – including a specially adapted bike for the disabled costing £1,700 – were stolen from Spen Pool and Fitness Complex last Wednesday. The bikes, worth more than £5,000, have been used in a scheme by Kirklees Active Leisure and the Streetbikes organisation.

Spen Pool operations manager Jonathan Debenham said he was ‘lost for words’. He said: “It’s disgusting that people will stoop that low to pinch from less able people. One bike was donated by the family of a man who used it for a coast-to-coast ride. He died shortly afterwards and there was a lot of sentimental value to it and the family are very disappointed.”

The £18,000 scheme was given £9,000 funding from the Spen area committee in March. As well as providing for disabled people, Streetbikes also gives unemployed young people a boost by teaching them bike maintenance and repair.

Despite the thefts, organisers pulled out all the stops to ensure a planned open day with the Mayor of Kirklees went ahead on Monday.

Spen police inspector Tim Holland said: “This is a despicable act and we want the bikes returned to the children and disabled people who rely on them.”

Contact PC Tracy Boucher on 01924 206357.

l See next week for a picture special from the open day.