Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Workers vow to ‘fight hard’ to survive after £50,000 bike theft from Highland social enterprise

The Laggan Wolftrax team before the pandemic. Duncan Bailey of the Wee Bike Hub is on the far left, with development manager Cristiano Pizarro next to him.
The Laggan Wolftrax team before the pandemic. Duncan Bailey of the Wee Bike Hub is on the far left, with development manager Cristiano Pizarro next to him.

Heartless thieves have made off with top-end mountain bikes worth more than £50,000 from a social enterprise in the Highlands.

The thefts took place at Laggan Wolftrax, off the road between Aviemore and Fort William, with the robbers targeting the visitor centre and the accompanying bike hire shop, The Wee Bike Hub, nearby.

From the centre, they took eight Polygon Siskiu T8 mountain bikes worth around £12,800.

From The Wee Bike Hub, 12 mountain bikes of various makes and models, worth around £39,500 were taken, along with more than £3,000 of clothing.

The thieves also caused considerable costly damage by breaking into the properties.

Police said the thefts took place between 11pm on Friday and 3am on Saturday.

The alarm was raised by residents in nearby cottages.

‘We’ve fought hard before and we’ll do it again’

Eight Polygon Siskiu T8 bikes similar to this were stolen from The Wee Bike Hub on January 16, 2021 Polygonbikes.com

Wolftrax development manager, Cristian Pizarro, said the thefts came as a hard blow after a difficult year.

He said: “We’re a social enterprise and the business is very marginal, so it’s hard to keep afloat.

“But before the pandemic, we’d had a good year and were making a lot of plans for 2020, then lockdown came.

“We were able to re-open in July and did better than expected, but we weren’t able to open the cafe over Christmas due the restrictions.

“But we’re confident we’ll get through. We’ve fought hard before and we’ll do it again.”

The market for bikes has grown massively over the past year.

Mr Pizarro said: “Stolen bikes are almost never recovered.

“Also, for us, the shortage of bikes means we won’t be able to hire any in for the new season.”

The community has rallied round, with local tradesmen coming in immediately to secure the properties.

More than 30,000 people visit Wolftrax in a normal year.

It’s regarded as a top UK destination for mountain bikers, with more than 18 miles of free trails.

‘Disgraceful’

Wolftrax supporters expressed their disgust on social media, calling the thieves “disgraceful”.

David Wright wrote: “That’s shocking, and the last thing that anyone needs at any time, not least during a global pandemic.”

Mark Alexander wrote: “I’m sure the number of people who use the centre, including me, would be happy to contribute to a fundraiser.”

Detective Sergeant Andy Bilton said: “In order to steal 20 mountain bikes, someone would need to have access to a large vehicle.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have seen or heard anything in and around these premises, and who may be able to assist with our inquiries, to get in touch.

”Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting incident 0935 of January 16.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]