Mountain bikes worth more than £20,000 stolen from Cheltenham family
THIEVES grabbed a treasured engagement present as they made off with £20,000 worth of possessions from a Cheltenham couple's home.
Isabel Booth had saved for months to buy parts to build a mountain bike for her cycling-mad fiancé Rod.
It was one of six bicycles that the family kept locked up in their garage in Galileo Gardens, Hester's Way.
But the items were snatched during a break-in on Saturday night.
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Police have now warned a gang could be operating in the area.
The one-of-a-kind £6,000 bike was built by Isabel in the workshop of Leisure Lakes Bikes to celebrate the landmark in the couple's relationship.
"I spent months and months putting money aside to buy all the parts one bit at a time and then I went into the shop to make it myself," said mother-of- three Mrs Booth, 32.
"I learned how to do it all in the workshop and they helped me to build it, so it was completely unique and can't be replaced."
Mr Booth had not ridden the yellow Intense Tracer since it was given to him in October due to injury.
Three of his other bikes were also taken – a black Yeti SB-66 worth £5,500, a carbon Lapierre Zesty 914 worth £5,250, and a red and black On-one 456 worth £2,250.
Mrs Booth's red, white and black Specialised SSR Myka worth £1,500 was also taken, along with her 12-year-old son Davey's red Santa Cruz, worth £2,500.
The bikes were too expensive to be included on the couple's contents insurance and they had not taken out a separate policy.
It is thought burglars used a crowbar to pull open the garage door, which joins the house, while Mr Booth was watching the Champions League final and his wife was in bed.
"I heard a bang at about 10.30pm, but it sounded like it was coming from the garden and I thought it was the dog running around," said Mr Booth, who rides in the Forest of Dean and in Wales.
The couple, who run the Clarity Insight counselling business in Lansdown, discovered the thefts on Sunday morning. It is the third time Mr Booth has fallen victim to a bike theft.
"Back in 2009 I had bikes locked to a vehicle and went inside for a matter of minutes and when I came back they were gone," he said.
"Then last Christmas Eve, a bike we bought Davey for his present was stolen, so we had to rush out to get another to replace it."
Leisure Lakes Bikes Scott Jones, workshop manager, said: "For Isabel to build the bike was a really nice gesture. It was a pretty rare frame and nobody else would have had a bike like that.
"It's horrible to hear about this sort of thing."
Police said there could be a gang of bike thieves patrolling the area.
Sergeant Tony Wallace added: "The officers in Hester's Way have reported an increase in high-value bike thefts."
Witnesses should call Gloucestershire Police on 101 and quote 114 of May 20.