A 90-YEAR-OLD veteran whose only means of independent travel was an electric bike has had it stolen for the second time.
Derek Stevens was shopping at Asda in Maynard Road, Totton, for himself and his wife Lesley when the Freego Hawk cycle was snatched from where it had been secured in the car park bike shed.
It happened at around midday last Wednesday, forcing Derek to take a taxi back to the couple’s home.
Six years ago he lost another bike of the same model – worth over £1,000 – to thieves while it was locked up at the same location.
Derek’s son Brian told the A&T: “It brings a tear to your eye because it’s so bloody sad to have it happen again.”
The latest theft has left Derek without his own means of getting out and about unaccompanied, Brian said. Derek and Lesley have a car, but he lost his licence several years ago due to poor eyesight.
Since the pandemic hit, Brian has done most of his parents’ shopping – something Derek had done fully himself until then. But the nonagenarian still continued to do smaller shopping trips.
“He’s got a lock for the bike, knows how to use it and used it. But that’s not much of a deterrent these days for someone with an angle grinder in their rucksack,” Brian said.
“He’s not able to walk very far so his only alternative is buses or taxis, but in this situation with Covid you don’t want to get too close to anyone.”
He continued: “He’s done his bit for Queen and country. He served in Korea in the 1950s, and he went from Korea straight to Egypt after that when he was 23.
“In later years, when me and my brother were encouraged to join the Cub Scouts, both our parents got involved and dad was Scout leader for 23rd Romsey in Totton.
“He’s given to the community for a lot of years and you think, this is how it repays him?”
Having posted about the theft on Facebook in the slim hope that someone may have seen the stolen bike, Brian was overwhelmed by the response.
Messages of support included offers to pay towards replacing the bike, although he believed his parents could afford it and would “draw a line” under the incident.
Brian expressed concern that other Facebook posters had reported having bikes stolen from outside the same Asda.
The stolen bike was white with black pannier bags attached either side of the rear wheel.
Updating the A&T on Monday, Brian said his father had been able to once again get himself and out about at the weekend after obtaining a replacement electric bike.
Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200484209, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.