A unique racing tandem bike was among £10,000 worth of property stolen in a raid on a house in Chestfield.
The custom-built cycle is a huge loss to its riders, who say it was a national championship winning machine and also of great sentimental value.
It was taken from the home of Nick Green last week.
Builder Nick and teammate Luke Huggins are well known tandem riders, and in 2013 completed an epic 357-mile ride from Land’s End to Whitstable on a 70-year-old bike in less than 24 hours.
They had been training for the first race of the season, which they will now miss.
Luke, 35, a kitchen designer of The Oaze, Whitstable, said: “It’s a massive blow because the bike has a long racing pedigree.
“We don’t believe the thieves specifically targeted it. They took electrical equipment but I think they stole the bike just because it was there and looked a bit special.
“It is such a specialised piece of kit that it will be of no use to anyone else, and is so distinctive that it will be impossible to sell on in the cycling world. It’s certainly no good as a family cycle.
“Our hope is that they realise that and dump it somewhere so it can be found and returned.”
The stolen custom bike, worth £8,000, was on loan to Luke and Nick from Andy Palmer, a cycling team manager from Romford.
Luke said: “It is of great sentimental value too because it was ridden with great success in the past by Zak Carr, who won many titles on it and was a bit of a legend in the tandem racing world.
“Sadly he was killed in a road accident a few years ago.
“Obviously, we are very sad and angry, and can only hope someone spots the bike because it is so recognisable.”
Police say they are investigating a burglary that took place between 5pm on Tuesday March 22, and 10.30am on Friday March 25.
Anyone with information should call 01843 222289, quoting reference number ZY/009688/16.