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15 electric bikes worth more than £30,000 stolen from New Forest Cycling in Burley

A BURLEY bicycle hire business faces a huge loss in summer trade after 15 electric mountain bikes worth over £30,000 were stolen in an overnight raid.

Thieves smashed their way into New Forest Cycling’s storeroom in The Cross on Monday night, escaping with the popular Cube Reaction Hybrid Pros.

Shocked staff who discovered the theft on Tuesday morning found the company’s van had also been broken into.

The electric Cube Reaction Hybrid Pros were valued at around £2,400 each
The electric Cube Reaction Hybrid Pros were valued at around £2,400 each

The vehicle is usually parked right up against the storeroom’s doors, but a window had been smashed to gain entry before it was rolled a short distance down the drive.

Assistant manager Matt Raybould told the A&T the small business, which has traded in Burley for 24 years, was now “massively worried” about how it would cope.

“We’re expecting a busy summer, and the electric bikes are among the most popular,” Mr Raybould said.

“It’s incredibly frustrating. Even if we were going to, we can’t get any more electric bikes due to a huge supply issue at the moment.

“I just don’t know why they do it. It’s not like we’re a big corporation – we’re a small, local business. There’s just no need for it.”

The business opened as normal for the rest of its trade on Tuesday but had to cancel several e-bike bookings.

“We called the police but, due to there being no CCTV evidence, blood or any tools left behind, they didn’t see any use in coming down,” Mr Raybould continued.

A door panel was removed to gain entry to New Forest Cycling's storeroom (Photo: Matt Raybould)
A door panel was removed to gain entry to New Forest Cycling's storeroom (Photo: Matt Raybould)

“You do sort of hope they could come down for about £32,000 worth of bikes stolen, but at the same time there’s not much they could have done if they did.”

Burley parish councillor Neil Martin told the A&T the raid was the latest in a spate of at least 20 thefts and break-ins during the past year, which he described as rural crimes.

Villagers have been greatly concerned by the incidents, which included a haul of tools stolen when a van was broken into for the second time in Garden Road earlier in July.

“The key thing is that it is a concern among the community, and the community is addressing it by looking at home security arrangements, but it is a big worry,” Cllr Martin said.

“There’s a lot of elderly residents in the village who are worried about it and, as a parish council, we want to do everything we can to ensure we are dealing with this at this current time.

“We are working very closely with the police to address some of the issues, and the police have been very efficient in their response.”

The council organised a drop-in session at the village hall in 2020 for people to speak to local officers and security consultants, but the pandemic forced its cancellation. It is hoped one can go ahead in the autumn.

A community WhatsApp group called Burley Watch was also set up for residents and businesses to report incidents of concern to help form a picture of what is happening and where.

Cllr Martin’s comments came after Hampshire’s new police and crime commissioner, Donna Jones, visited the New Forest last Friday in a bid to assure communities that rural crime was being addressed.

Mrs Jones met with several partners including New Forest District Council, the Official Verderer, the National Farmers Union (NFU), County Land Owners Association (CLA) and Forestry England.

She also went out in Stoney Cross with Insp. Korine Bishop, Hampshire’s rural policing and Countrywatch lead, to find out about measures used to tackle rural crime, including the use of drones.

There were meetings with FE rangers and some of the force’s mounted volunteers who help combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

Mrs Jones said: “We know that rural residents are feeling increasingly vulnerable to being the victims of crime and can feel neglected by police in favour of urban centres.

“Much is being done to increase capacity and capability to deal with crime in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight’s rural areas, including mobile CCTV, drone technology, increasing numbers of police officers and having a more visible presence.

“I would also urge residents to please keep reporting crime, it is only by knowing when and how frequently incidents are happening that the right level of resourcing can be allocated.”

Those with information about the New Forest Cycling raid should contact officers on 101, quoting crime reference number 44210297443, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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