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Men challenged as they prepared to cut lock with bolt cutters - explanation that they'd lost key was accepted...

A woman whose bike was stolen from a train station is appealing for help in tracking down the thieves - who were challenged by railway staff as they prepared to cut the lock with bolt cutters, but were allowed to carry on with the crime after their explanation that they had lost the key to the lock was accepted.

The victim of the theft, an NHS worker named Kate, has cycled to Nuneaton station as part of her commute to Rugby for two years, reports the Nuneaton News.

But when she arrived at the station on her way home on Wednesday 5 February, her mountain bike, an Apollo Elusion given to her a few weeks earlier as a 30th birthday present  from her father, was missing.

It's something that sadly happens to many cyclists each day. What makes this incident different, though, is that the bike was stolen after station staff had challenged the thieves and let them carry on with cutting the lock and steal the bike.

"I left my bicycle, as normal in the indoor bike rack at 8.10am," said Kate, who did not want to disclose her surname.

"I then returned to the station at 5pm and my bike was gone.

"I approached a London Midland member of staff and asked about my bike and he was expecting me.

"He said at 12.17pm someone came in and when approached staff said they had forgotten their key and were able to walk out of the station with my bike.

"The British Transport Police later told me two men on bikes actually came in to the station.

"When asked by train station staff what they were doing, the men told the staff they had lost the key.

"The men had bolt croppers and the staff let them cut the lock and steal the bike - which is a female bike.

"I'm aware when you leave a bike it's at the owner's risk, but to let someone blatantly steal it in the middle of the day is appalling."

She added: "I would appeal to anyone who knows the whereabouts of the bicycle or who knows the two men who stole it to contact PC Godhania from the British Transport Police."

A spokesperson for London Midland commented: "The circumstances surrounding the theft of this bicycle are extremely unfortunate, and sadly both London Midland staff and the owner of the bicycle appear to have fallen victim to a cruel but clever con.

"This is now a matter for the police and we will support their investigation fully."

Anyone who has information regarding the theft is asked to contact British Transport Police by on 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016, or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.