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Gloucestershire Business News

Ram raiders grab thousands of pounds of stock

A dramatic police chase ensued after ram raiders tore through the front of a Forest of Dean bicycle hire shop and café this morning stealing £20,000 of bikes.

Officers were quick to the scene of the family run business, scouring nearby roads to trace the getaway vehicle and chasing it as far as Gloucester.

Officers were forced to use 'stinger' devices to bring the white transit van to a halt, but the two men inside made off before they could be stopped.

Angela Clayton, who has run Dean Forest Cycles, in New Road, Parkend, for seven years along with her husband, Nigel, son Alex and daughter Abigail, told Punchline how events unfolded - and spoke of her devastation.

"We have a system on our alarm which alerts us at home as soon as something happens. We were there in 10 minutes and the police were there very quickly," said Mrs Clayton, whose family have transformed the former garage site into a popular attraction.

"We have big wooden doors at the front of the building and they ram-raided those, damaging some of the bikes in the shop at the same time."

She estimated at least £20,000 of bikes were stolen. The business hires bikes for all levels of mountain biking on the Forest of Dean's popular trails, from £3,500 machines to the most up to date electric cycles.

"It is really upsetting. We are a family business. We work really, really hard. We put everything back into the business. Obviously, something like this is a huge financial blow as well."

Despite the apparent devastation and police investigation, which even saw the premises swept for finger prints, Mrs Clayton is adamant the bike hire operation, shop and café will remain open for business (9am-5pm seven days a week).

The family has its fingers crossed that when the police have finished with the recovered van and they find it contains all of their stolen bicycles.

Gloucestershire Constabulary told Punchline this morning it is still investigating what it calls a "commercial burglary".

Officers, it said, responded shortly before 2.30am. A white Ford Transit van, failed to stop for the officers who eventually used a stinger device, bringing the vehicle to a halt near to Westgate Island, Gloucester, where it collided with a parked car.

There were a number of bikes in the van which have been recovered.

The two occupants, believed to be male, made off on foot and have not yet been located.

Investigating officers would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicions vehicles or has information which would help to identify the offenders.

Inspector Andrew Hodgetts, local commander for the Forest of Dean, said: "This was excellent work by our officers who responded immediately to the call and successfully traced one of the offending vehicles and recovered the stolen property.

"Efforts to identify and locate the offenders will continue today, whilst neighbourhood officers will be on patrol in the local areas to provide reassurance to members of the community.

"We strive to keep our communities safe and anyone who has any concerns should report them to their local officers so that they can be addressed."

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