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Thames Valley Police seek four (possibly bruised) would-be bike thieves after cyclist fights back

A cyclist fought off four men who attempted to steal his bike in a West Oxfordshire town on Saturday evening, says Thames Valley Police, which has launched an appeal to try and track down the quartet whom it says may have received injuries or bruising as their target mounted what sounds like a spirited defence.

The incident happened at 8.30pm in the centre of Carterton, which lies immediately to the north of RAF Brize Norton in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Witney constituency.

According to Thames Valley Police:

At around 8.30pm, the victim was riding his bike through Church View towards the alleyway that leads to Stanmore Crescent. When he entered the alleyway he was hit with an object between 4ft and 5ft long which was possibly a metal or wooden bar, which made him fall off his bike.

When he was on the ground he saw four white men, one who still had the object in his hand. In self defence the victim pulled the legs from under this man causing him to fall to the ground and a struggle ensued during which the victim hit the offender twice in the face.

The victim then hit a second man, and noticed the other two men were stealing his bike. He followed them and pushed one of them into a fence demanding his bike back. One of the offenders who still had hold of the victim’s bike then threw it back in the direction of the victim. The victim then pushed this offender using his bike causing him to fall to the ground. The victim then escaped on his bike.

Police have issued descriptions of the men they are trying to track down, all of them described as slim and white and aged in their late teens or early twenties.

The first was clean shaven and wearing a light coloured hooded top with either white or grey and jeans.

The second man was wearing a light coloured hooded top, which was possibly branded Superdry, jeans, and white high top trainers with colours on.

The third man was wearing a hooded top with a stripe in a dark colour on his left arm, Calvin Klein boxer shorts, and jeans.

The fourth man was wearing a dark blue or black hooded top, jeans, and trainers.

According to the police, the cyclist received bruising to the ribs during the incident, but did not need to be treated in hospital.

However, they added that his assailants may themselves have received injuries, including bruising, as a result of their intended victim fighting back.

Anyone who has information regarding the incident is asked to contact PC Petra Summers at Witney police station via the 24-hour Thames Valley Police Enquiry Line on 101, or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 101.

Police advice generally is to hand over possessions - which after all can be replaced - to thieves, but what would you have done? Fight back or let them take it?

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.