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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 joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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SculturaD | 4 years ago
1 like

Utter Scum. Let's hope that when any of them are caught, the judge throws the book at them. With as severe a punishment as possible due to the nature of the thefts, at this time when the NHS staff are going above and beyond to help those with this terrible virus.

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 4 years ago

Obviously the cynic would think that no one would give a toss about a nurses' bike being nicked in 'normal' times. Not least the Police. 

Biggus-Dickkus | 4 years ago

These are the sort of scumbags that deserve to get this virus big time...

brooksby replied to Biggus-Dickkus | 4 years ago

Nobody deserves to catch C19!

Philh68 replied to brooksby | 4 years ago

Correct. NHS workers shouldn’t have to care for the bastard who nicked their bike.

But I would not object to a crime-appropriate punishment, like a modern version of stocks. Chain them to a public bike rack with a U lock around the neck.

brooksby replied to Philh68 | 4 years ago

I'd be happy with that particular "crime-appropriate punishment" in normal times, too.

And, I didn't realise that NHS workers got to choose who they cared for based on their personal preferences/beliefs/feelings...  'Doctors' isn't a documentary series, you know.

(My point was just that I don't think anyone actually deserves to catch C19, at all, which is what B-D had said).

Philh68 replied to brooksby | 4 years ago

I knew what you meant, and that NHS workers can’t choose who to care for. Just that wishing covid-19 on these scum thiefs would just add to the burden on those workers. Having their bike nicked is bad enough, who wants to make more work for them? They’ve already had enough taken from them.

ktache | 4 years ago

Bicycle theives are scum, but I think that the management of the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham maight have to have a look and consider how secure their secure cycle storage really is.

eburtthebike | 4 years ago

This is frankly behaviour which goes way past unacceptable, and as the article makes clear, isn't just the theft of a bicycle, it can seriously affect the lives of those charged with looking after us while putting their own lives at risk.  I know punishment doesn't really deter, but I don't think a harsh sentence would do any harm for people deliberately targetting health and other emergency workers.

Hasn't the government just passed a law making it illegal to deliberately cough on an emergency worker, with a presumption of a prison sentence?  Maybe the same should be done for those knicking their bikes.

MTB Refugee replied to eburtthebike | 4 years ago

Honestly, this shouldn't take a global health crisis for stealing bikes to become an unacceptable crime that elicits a response from the police. Every day 1000s of people have bicycles stolen, many of which affect their abilities to get to work and provide for their families. It's a national disgrace that theft is no longer treated an any kind of a crime. I'd love to use my bike as a general form of transport, but won't because the risk of it being stolen is high and the chances of it's recovery and an arrest are ridiculously low. That being said, I'm delighted that something has been done and a couple of scumbags are hopefully going to spend some time in prison.

Captain Badger replied to eburtthebike | 4 years ago

I agree with your sentiment, although it doesn't only apply to emergency workers. This to my mind goes way past a property crime as it in effect curtails the individual's freedom of movement (not to be mistaken for the type so hated by brexiters).

It also disproportionately affects the disadvantaged and those in difficult circumstances, for whom the bike becomes a real lifeline, so really is punching down. In addition we here all know how emotionally attached we get to our bikes, so for many it is a double whammy.

This might not be considered to be the worst crime in the world, and I'm generally not fond of thieves whatever the circumstance, but this really is a spiteful, horrible thing to do to anyone and should be dealt with full force, whoever the victim works for.



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