A TEENAGE cycling enthusiast had his £3,000 bike stolen while waiting in a chip shop queue.
Police are now trying to trace the young man who took the Specialized S Works Verge while 17-year-old Jack Smith waited for his order.
The New College Durham student was at The Fry Inn, at New Kyo, near Stanley, County Durham, at around 5.30pm on Wednesday when the thief stuck.
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The bike, which has a carbon fibre frame, was left against the window of the shop when it was stolen.
Mr Smith, who lives in the Annfield Plain area, said: “A group of five lads and two lasses came past and one of them came in to place an order.
“I had been watching the bike but turned round to pay and this lad got on the bike and pedalled away.”
Mr Smith is a keen cyclist and regularly goes for rides of around 30 miles on the bike.
He said: “I am pretty devastated that someone would come along and steal it so I would be grateful if anyone who can help me get it back can get in touch.
“I have put a lot money and hard work into it. I just want whoever is responsible to make sure I get it back. It means a lot to me.”
It is especially heartbreaking for Mr Smith as he built the bike himself as a hobby to get over the death of his brother Daniel, who suffered from Di George syndrome and died of heart failure two years ago.
His mother, Lisa Martin, said: “I really feel for him because he put his heart and soul into making the bike. It gave him something to focus on and he only finished it two months ago. It was his pride and joy.
“It is pretty unique and has markings so he will be able to recognise it.
“It will be hard to get rid of as it is too hot to handle.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Liam Padget at Stanley police by calling the non-emergency number 101.