Reward offered for return of bikes stolen from van at Lancaster hotel

The dreams of a cyclist were shattered when thieves broke into his van parked at a Lancaster hotel and stole his bike, ending his chances to compete in a cycling race.
The trail of destruction after thieves smashed the rear glass to steal bikes at Holiday Inn in Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.The trail of destruction after thieves smashed the rear glass to steal bikes at Holiday Inn in Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.
The trail of destruction after thieves smashed the rear glass to steal bikes at Holiday Inn in Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.

Mark Hancock from Plymouth, Devon had made the six hour journey to Lancaster in preparation for the annual 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race which was taking place in the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday (September 24).

Months of training, bike preparation and a long journey went to waste when in the early hours of Sunday morning thieves smashed the rear windscreen of Mark's VW van parked at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster and dragged the bikes through the narrow gap and off into the night.

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Mark said: “It was a total shock, we'd parked the van in the car park at Holiday Inn which was well lit, CCTV and we'd reversed it up tight to another vehicle so there was no way to open the doors of the van.

Jones SpaceFrame bike stolen from Holiday Inn, Lancaster on Saturday night. Picture by Steve Toze.Jones SpaceFrame bike stolen from Holiday Inn, Lancaster on Saturday night. Picture by Steve Toze.
Jones SpaceFrame bike stolen from Holiday Inn, Lancaster on Saturday night. Picture by Steve Toze.

“The thieves smashed the rear glass which is no easy job, then somehow managed to extract the bikes from the shattered rear window. We woke early, 6am, to head off to the race and finding the van in this state and our bikes gone was just heartbreaking.”

Mark was staying with coach and team mate Steve Toze, who had also made the journey to support his friend in the prestigious event.

Steve, a former mountain bike racer and cycling journalist, also had his bike stolen in the night time raid.

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Steve said: “It was a long and sad drive home, neither bike was particularly valuable as they were quite old but we'd ridden all sorts of adventures on them, including gravel races, multi day bike packing trips and even races - if you're a cyclist then you always have one special bike that you would never sell and in our case it was these bikes.”

Ritchey Swiss Cross bike stolen on Saturday night from Holiday Inn, Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.Ritchey Swiss Cross bike stolen on Saturday night from Holiday Inn, Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.
Ritchey Swiss Cross bike stolen on Saturday night from Holiday Inn, Lancaster. Picture by Steve Toze.

The two riders are offering a £500 cash reward for the return of the bikes.

Steve Toze said: “We're hoping that people will keep their eyes open for these two really distinctive bikes, the orange Jones Bike is literally the only one in bright orange in the UK and it's such an unusual looking bike that we think someone will spot it.”

Call police on 101 quoting crime number LC-20230924-0324.