THE MANAGER of Droitwich Leisure Centre has hit out at thieves who stole 16 studio cycling exercise bikes worth almost £50,000 just days before it was due to reopen following the latest lockdown.
Tim Kirkham spoke to the Standard following the theft between 10.35pm and 10.45pm last Friday.
He said: “Covid has already been a real kick in the teeth and this is another setback we did not need.
“We were just thinking how great it would be to open again and then this happened.
“Our classes, especially spin, are very popular and it is one of the main reasons people join.
“People need exercise at the moment with everything going on for both their physical and mental wellbeing and this could not have come at a worse time.”
The culprits, thought to be an organised gang, used bolt cutters to gain access to the car park which is protected by eye-level barriers.
They then used a jemmy to force open heavy steel fire exit doors to get into one of the fitness studios before loading the heavy equipment onto a white Mercedes Luton Box van.
The driver and another one of the suspects were wearing gloves and light coloured clothing and a third man was wearing dark clothing.
Fortunately because class sizes currently have to have reduced numbers, a sister site in Evesham has lent a number of bikes to the Droitwich centre but that will only be short-term solution.
Each of the Technogym spin bikes was worth around £3,000 and Rivers Fitness, which runs the centre, will now have to find the cash to replace them after a tough financial year.
Mr Kirkham added: “I have been here since 1992 and nothing like this has ever happened before – it feels personal and we are all completely gutted.
“Droitwich Leisure Centre has a real community feel about it and I often think what a lovely career I have had.”
He said judging by the CCTV and the short amount of time it took the raiders knew exactly what they were doing, adding he had heard of other targeted thefts happening in Birmingham.
Mr Kirkham praised Wychavon District Council for all the support it had given throughout the lockdown and the police for the work they were doing trying to catch the culprits.
Rivers Fitness will be working with the council to step up security at the site.
PC Dean Bowen urged for anyone near the centre in Briar Mill at that time to think back to anything they saw.
And he urged witnesses or information or anyone aware of Technogym spin bikes for sale to call him on 07870 151013.