Avon & Somerset Constabulary have issued an appeal after a not-for-profit organisation that refurbishes unwanted bikes and sells them on to new owners at an affordable price was targeted twice by arsonists in the space of ten days.
Ten bikes were irreparably damaged in the first attack on the Bunker Bike Workshop on Smeaton Road, close to Brunel Lock Road, reports the Bristol Post.
That fire, at the rear of the workshop, took place on 21 December. The second attack, on New Year’s Eve, was more costly, destroying 40 men’s, women’s and children’s bikes at the front of the site that were protected from the elements by tarpaulins.
Project manager Harvey Tadman told the Bristol Post: "It's sickening and very disappointing for all the volunteers who have given up their time and everyone who has donated bikes to us.
"We were gearing up for spring because cycling has become very popular. Bristol is a cycling city and we're getting more 20mph zones so people are going to need bikes.
"A few of the bikes destroyed still needed fixing, but most of them were ready to go to a new home."
Mr Tadman, who said he believed that the New Year’s Eve fire took place at around 9.30pm, went on: "It looks as though whoever did this used petrol because the fire was so intense. I don't even need to spell out how dangerous that is."
Besides refurbishing bikes, the business, which is volunteer-based and was established in 2011, leasing its premises at a peppercorn rent from Bristol City Council, also provides repair services to cyclists including many from the Bower Ashton campus of the University of the West of England.
Mr Tadman said: "We basically act as a pit stop for a lot of people, repairing their punctures and broken chains. Also, we're open at quite unsociable hours in the summer so we provide a reassuring presence on what, at certain times, can be a quiet part of the cycle track.
"We have received so much support and so many donations since we started, but any help anyone wants to give would be greatly appreciated."
There’s a brief review of Bunker Bike Workshop here.
The Bristol Post adds that if you have a bike that you would like to donate to the project, you can either visit the Smeaton Road site or contact Mr Tadman via the Create centre, on 0117 9250505.
A spokesman for Avon & Somerset Constabulary commented: "On New Year's Eve we received a report that a number of bikes chained outside the premises of the Bunker Bike Workshop had been set alight, as well as the guttering of the building.
"We are treating this incident as criminal damage and police enquiries are currently continuing into both fires. We would like to appeal for any witnesses."
Anyone who has information is asked to call Cabot Police Station on 101, or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.