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Leeds cyclist pushed into River Aire for his bike

Thugs shoved cyclist into the river and disappeared

A cyclist in Yorkshire was pushed in the River Aire and his bike stolen just before the Tour de France came to the area.

Julian Walls, from Garforth, was cycling home from work through Leeds when he was attacked. He lost his wedding ring in the water and was abandoned in the water near the Royal Armouries.

The 33-year-old told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “They didn’t have a right to steal my bike, but the thing I really keep coming back to is that they didn’t care what happened to me.

“For all they knew I might not have been able to swim, I could have hit my head and been knocked unconscious. All they cared about was getting something for nothing – they had no thought about me.”

Speaking of the gang of youths he spotted as he rode home, he said: “One of them separated from the rest. He looked one way, then the other, almost like he was acting as a lookout.

“As I went past he pushed me with some force. My back hit the concrete and I went under water.”

He added that although his injuries were not serious, he was not keen to ride the same route again.

“I love cycling and part of me wants to go back down there and not let them get to me, but it does affect you.”

Detective Constable Debbie Farley, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Crime Team, appealed for information. She said: “This incident could have easily have more serious consequences given these males went off leaving the victim in the river without any idea of his injuries. As it was it was a distressing experience for him to be attacked in this way.

“This was a nasty and cynical attack on someone just to steal their bike from them.

“A number of people went to the victim’s aid afterwards and I would like to hear from anyone who has not yet spoken to us.”

She also asked to hear from anyone who recognises the youths seen in the CCTV picture or who has seen the bike – a white coloured Whyte brand mountain bike.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC 4157 Farley at Elland Road via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Sparking concerns that the arrival of the Tour in Yorkshire sparked criminal interest in expensive bikes, police have also appealed for information to trace a Pinarello Dogma F8, worth £12,000, which was stolen from a display in the window of the Paul Smith shop, in King Edward Street in Leeds city centre shortly after 11am on Friday, July 4.

Patrick Chapman admitted the offence at magistrates court but the bike has not yet been found.

PC John Carter, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Investigations, said: "The stolen bike is a black Pinarello Dogma F8 that is an exact replica of the Team Sky bikes ridden in the Tour de France and has the Sky logo on it. It is made of carbon fibre and worth about £12,000 and was one of two bikes bought by the shop as display items.

"It is very distinctive and we would like to hear from anyone who has been offered a bike like this for sale or knows its current whereabouts. Bikes of this technical specification and high cost are relatively rare and are generally only used by serious cyclists so it will stand out."

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC 1024 Carter at Elland Road via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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