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Bikes stolen from Coxhoe centre
MORE than 20 bicycles which were loaned out free-of-charge under community fitness schemes have been stolen from a volunteer-run leisure centre.
The 21 Hardrock mountain bikes, together worth several thousand pounds, were stolen from a container in the car park of the Active Life Centre, in Coxhoe.
Police believe thieves forced their way into the padlocked container during Saturday night.
Melanie Adams, the Active Life Centre manager, said: "It’s really disappointing. We’re trying to do good for the community."
Around half the bikes were owned by Durham County Council and were loaned out to residents free-of-charge for up to a day.
The remainder were provided by the NHS’ Get Cycling scheme and were available to borrow free-of-charge for residents joining guided bike rides.
A dog walker reported seeing the container open late on Saturday night. Some bikes were still inside. The police were called and the council secured the container.
Ms Adams learned of the incident when police visited Active Life the next day.
The leisure centre was saved from closure and relaunched as Active Life by the community-run charity Future Leisure in Coxhoe (Flic) after members took over its operation from Durham County Council last November.
Improvements have since been made to the facility’s reception, dance studio and meeting room.
The theft is of no cost to the centre, as it did not own the bikes.
However, Ms Adams said: "It’s really disappointing. We’ve just completed all the renovation to the reception and the dance studio.
"We had a grand opening on Thursday night. The place is looking amazing.
"We’re thrilled with all the positive changes we’ve made to the centre and it’s disappointing there’s someone who would do such a thing as this."
Police believe the thieves would have needed some form of transport to load the bikes onto before taking them away.
An investigation has been launched. Anyone with information on mountain bikes being offered for sale is asked to call PC Tony Miley on Durham Police’s non-emergency number, 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.