For BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow has staged a reconstruction of the crime which saw the North East Autism Society lose more than £3000 of specialist bikes in an overnight raid.

Due to air on BBC 2 at 9am on Friday, June 24th, the short segment will show Ian Patterson, Programme Manager from the North East Autism Society, reliving the moments when he discovered all the bikes he uses for a therapeutic cycling club had been taken.

Presented by Rav Wilding and Michelle Ackerley, the show, watched by more than one million viewers, will issue an appeal for members of the public to come forward with information.

NEAS Chief Executive, John Phillipson, said:

We’re really grateful to the BBC for recognising how significant a loss these bikes are to us. To take cycles and go-karts from already vulnerable people is heartless; but on this occasion it was also calculated. We believe they knew what they were doing and who they were stealing from.

The bikes, which include six mountain bikes, four go-kart style bikes, and a distinctive side-by-side bike, were stored in a secure lock-up at Silksworth Ski Centre in Sunderland where The Society held a therapeutic cycling session every day for adults, children or young people with autism.

The cycling project was established 12 years ago by Ian, who discovered the break-in on Friday, March 18th. The estimated cost to replace the cycles is around £3000 plus a cost of £600 to move the container where the equipment was stored, to a new site.

Ian explained:

Just three weeks before the break-in we bought three brand new bikes and we added them to our lock-up at the Silksworth Ski Centre. We used the bike track there every weekday afternoon. Sometimes it’s used by adults with autism, as part of their therapy, sometimes they’re used by children and adults from our residential homes.

In 12 years we’ve never had any issues. Local people know we use the track to help people with additional needs. While autism can be hidden the affects aren’t. Whoever took these bikes and karts must have watched us, and if you watched us you would see key workers supporting people. You would see how happy this makes adults and young people who often struggle in the community. You’d be aware that you were stealing from people who really look forward to being on those bikes.

The charity is now hoping the televised appeal will help in finding those responsible.

Ian added:

Please, if you know who has the bikes, get in touch. We would desperately like to have them back. The go karts and the side-by-side bike isn’t something you would see every day so we’re sure people will have seen them around. Any help would be gratefully received.

The six-minute slot for the day-time Crimewatch show was filmed over 12 hours in and around the Sunderland area and will include footage of cycling sessions, bikes identical to the ones stolen, and a reconstruction of how police believe the bikes were taken.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said:

We can confirm that between 8.30pm on Thursday, March 17 and Midday on Friday, March 18 thieves have broken into a storage container based at Silksworth Ski centre on Silksworth Lane. They have gone inside and several bikes, go karts and a side by side bike were stolen before they made off.

Anyone with information about the theft or to the whereabouts of the stolen bikes and go karts should call police on 101, giving the reference number: 550 180316.

If you would like to make a donation to help us replace the stolen bikes please click here (Please use reference "Crimewatch" when asked to leave a comment)