Devastated young twins are pleading for thieves to return their beloved £25,000 championship bikes.
Harriet and William Butchers’ custom-built cycles were swiped from a van after thieves smashed their way through a window overnight.
The 12-year-olds launched a poster campaign around their village of Wickhambreaux, near Canterbury, raising awareness over their missing electric-geared Cyclo-cross racers.
Explaining the family had returned from a competition in Devon just hours before the crime unfolded, mum Sorcha Goode said: “We normally take the bikes out of the van but when we got home we were exhausted and we thought they would be alright for one night.
“We were in bed, we didn't hear it, the dog didn't bark and the alarm on the van didn't go off. Whoever did this broke the back window and pulled the bikes out. They came across the field and went through our outbuildings.”
“I woke up in the morning and fed the dog and my husband noticed a sheet was on the floor that covered the bikes. We ran outside and looked at the back of the van and were so shocked.”
Miss Goode said her children, who have been competing since age six are “absolutely devastated” after the “career they want has ground to an abrupt halt”.
On Sunday night, after the family returned home late from a competition in Devon, thieves smashed the window of the van and went through barns taking three bikes, tools and equipment.
Police say the theft happened in Grove Road between midnight and 6am on Monday, November 13.
Harriet who goes to Canterbury’s Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School has made posters which she has put up around the village with the hope of finding the bikes.
Despite their value, Miss Goode says the bikes are so rare, they will be difficult to sell.
“They're not normal bikes, they are purpose-built for Cyclo-cross racing.
“You can't just go a buy another one from Halfords, the frame size is unique because my kids are small.
“The gears need to be charged so they will soon stop working.
“My kids are really serious about the sport so it’s devastating for them.”
The theft means the twins, who have been competing for six years, can no longer take part in competitions in the under 14 category.
Miss Goode added: “The biggest issue is that they have been taken from kids, it's the career they want to get into and now it has ground to an abrupt halt.”
Forensic officers have taken swabs from around the van window and police have confirmed the matter is under investigation.
Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, has CCTV or dashcam footage which might assist, or who has been offered bikes or tools for sale, is urged to call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 42/201561/23.
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or using the online form.