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"It's a Christmas miracle!": Charity's £5,000 stolen bicycle returned days on from break-in

UPDATE: The bike thief who stole Christmas... has now returned it...

Update 17/12/2023: "It's a Christmas miracle!" Monty's Bike Hub co-founder Josh told us this morning — the trishaw has been returned! 

"Sometime last night our trishaw that was stolen on Tuesday night was returned," he explained. "Thanks for all the shares and comments, this clearly helped motivate whoever took it to give it back and made it 'too hot to handle'.

"The Trishaw does have a fair bit of damage and we also want to improve our security and storage situation, and therefore we have created this fundraiser below to support this. Please share and give if you can. All funding will go to our charity to firstly repair the Trishaw and replace missing parts, then fund a tracker device and better secure our storage situation."

Original story follows...

A cycling charity in Southampton has seen its festive events plans scuppered after a £5,000 trishaw bicycle — used year-round to take elderly and disabled people on bike rides, and decorated with tinsel and bells for the Christmas season — was stolen this week.

Monty's Bike Hub offers a variety of cycling activities in its community and is part of the wider 'Cycling Without Age' movement to help elderly people continue to enjoy cycling, through rides on a three-wheeled trishaw bicycle.

Monty's Bike Hub

The group had a visit from Santa on Monday and the bike was decorated for the festive season when it was unfortunately stolen during a burglary which happened on Tuesday night between 9pm that evening and 8am on Wednesday morning.

> Bike parking nightmare before Christmas as cycle racks to be removed for festive market

Co-founder and director Josh Allen explained to road.cc that Monty's Bike Hub also offers schemes to help young people get involved with cycling as an escape from crime.

Monty's Bike Hub

"We've got a number of different cargo bikes, some of which have trackers on them. Unfortunately this one didn't, partly because we didn't ever expect it to even be attempted to be stolen," he explained.

"We're still working on insurance and what they can offer us but it was about five or six grand originally and now when I contacted the supplier, they're about £11,000 so it might not be that we get the full amount from insurance, so I think some sort of crowdfunder would help.

> "Christmas is ruined," claims business owner... who blames cycle lane for "massive negative impact" on trade

And while the Christmas events will have to be cancelled, Sunday's planned ride now unable to happen, the bigger concern is that the trishaw is used year-round to help disabled people and the elderly enjoy the mental health benefits of a bike ride.

Monty's Bike Hub

"It's really good for reducing isolation, [helping] mental health for older people," Josh told road.cc. "People who haven't been out of their care homes for years and then we can take them to the sea and enjoy being out and about again.

"We were using it for Christmasy stuff, it was all blinged out with tinsel and bells, we had Santa in it for our toddler group on Monday and we were doing an event on Sunday, rides on it around the community with Christmas lights but obviously that's not going to happen this year. For the new year and spring, hopefully we'll get something else in place and continue the activity with the older people."

> Christmas is RUINED… by a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (apparently)

Hampshire Police are investigating the burglary and have asked for any witnesses or people with information or CCTV footage to come forward using the reference number 44230508208.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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2 comments

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arowland | 7 months ago
1 like

Could have been kids or drunks, of course, rather than 'sell it on' criminals. Glad it was returned, but shame about the damage.

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Rome73 | 7 months ago
3 likes

A cycle like that would be difficult to sell on - it's quite specific. You have to need / want one. (Unless it was stolen 'to order') I know a charity in London that uses one for similar activities.  They have installed a rear wheel lock (Abus / Axa) When the thief cuts the locks they find they can't wheel the cycle away and obviously it's too heavy to lift. It is possible to angle grind a wheel lock but it takes more time and attention thus making the thief more conspicuous. I have wheel locks on all my cargo bikes. I also put motion alarms on the cargo bikes. If someone moves the bike the alarm (Abus) screeches like a banshee. Some of the cargo bikes I have cost around 3K to buy from Germany. Now, the exact same models are over 5K to import. Probably something to do with covid. Or the war in Ukraine. Apparently. 

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