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Two charged after bikes stolen from NHS coronavirus workers and staff member assaulted

Bicycle thieves target hospitals during pandemic – but kindness of strangers and brands gets victims quickly back in saddle

Two men were due to appear at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today following a series of thefts of bikes at the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre. The news comes as a number of NHS staff across the country have taken to social media t say that their bikes have been stolen from outside hospitals while they have been inside treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

David Moran, 35, of Courtleet Way, Nottingham and Craig Lancaster, 29, of Camrose Close, Nottingham were arrested on Friday in connection with multiple thefts from secure cycle parking at the Queen’s Medical Centre last Wednesday evening, as well as the theft of a bike from outside a KFC in Bulwell last Monday and two reports of burglary from the University Park Campus last Wednesday.

Both have been charged with five counts of burglary, theft, and assault on an emergency worker, while Lancaster is also charged with a further count of theft and obstructing an officer in the execution of their duty.

David Hicks, the husband of an NHS worker whose bike was stolen at the Queen’s Medical Centre on Wednesday said on Twitter that his wife Karen Grace, had been “caring for three coronavirus patients on their deathbed” at the time the theft took place.

Ms Grace was quickly loaned a replacement bike by Nottinghamshire Police, and her husband said that the couple had received numerous offers from well-wishers on Twitter to donate a bike to replace the one that had been stolen.

And as we reported on our live blog last Thursday, Dan Harvey, a doctor treating coronavirus patients at the same hospital, revealed in a post on Twitter that he had finished his shift at 2am that morning to find his bike had been taken too.

> Are bike thieves targeting doctors and teachers?

“You have stolen my way to get to work, my time and my sleep (in short supply at the moment),” he wrote. “But you can’t steal my commitment, my faith in society or my determination to continue to fight for the lives of my neighbours.”

He was contacted by a number of firms offering to replace his bike, including Ribble, the brand he owned, as well as Brompton and Halfords, and used those offers of help to try and source bikes for colleagues who needed them.

“Started the day feeling down. The support from the community has picked me back up. I’m going back to work with a smile and more determined than ever. Thank you all,” he added.

In Leicester, a man was filmed on CCTV stealing a bike belonging to an NHS worker employed as a housekeeper that was parked outside the Donor Centre last Tuesday, reports Metro.

The centre’s manager, Karen Ellis, said: ‘It literally took 15 seconds for the bike to be gone. It’s very worrying. This member of staff was only at work at this time of day because she was doing additional hours to help us during the Covid-19 crisis.

“With the city on lockdown, it seems that more opportunists are in the area, taking advantage that there are fewer people on the street to witness their crimes.”

She added that the bike’s owner had shouted, “Hey, that’s my bike!” as he made off, to which he replied, “Well, it’s not now!”

Ms Ellis added: “If this person had not been an NHS employee she would have been safe at home when this happened – it almost feels like essential workers are now being targeted because we have to go to work each day and it is frightening.’

A search on Google News reveals a number of other examples of NHS workers ending their shifts to discover that their bike has been stolen – and equally, demonstrates the kindness of complete strangers and bike brands in ensuring that the victim is back on two wheels as soon as possible.

To give just one further example, last Sunday healthcare assistant Helena Tokoli discovered that her bike had been stolen when she finished her shift at Cheltenham General Hospital.

After Gloucestershire Live reported on the theft, a number of readers offered to replace it, including a woman from Gloucester who was no longer able to ride her own bike due to a knee injury.

Ms Tokoli’s husband, Zain Mufti, said: “It makes my wife very emotionally happy how people care about others when they are having a bad time.

“She doesn't need to walk to work now thanks to the woman who gave us the bicycle, and now she has lots of new energy to go to help others.

“There are lot others people who told us we could borrow their bikes or even take their bikes, we are very thankful to their offers,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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