Land's End bike stolen hours after epic trek

IT survived a two-week, 850-mile trek from Land's End to John O'Groats.

But just hours after arriving back home in Edinburgh, Douglas Leslie was mourning the loss of his treasured bicycle.

Thieves stole his trusty machine from the stairwell of the biotechnology graduate's home in Blackwood Crescent, Newington.

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The 22-year-old, who made the journey with his flatmate Peter Clouting, also 22, to raise money for the Water Aid charity, said today he was devastated by the theft.

He said: "We spent most of our time camping on the way up through Britain, so it's been parked against trees and fences for most of the way.

"It's really awful that the bike has been stolen now after surviving five years in Edinburgh.

"I bought it as a run-around for university and it's been parked in the same spot hundreds of times, and yet it just completes this adventure and goes missing."

The pair originally planned to complete the bike ride as a "summer jolly" after university but instead decided to make it in aid of charity, raising 220 for Water Aid.

They returned by train from Wick on Monday and Mr Leslie's bike went missing later that night.

He added: "Although not a particularly expensive bicycle – I paid 500 for it five years ago – I had just spent 150 getting it shipshape for our trip and it now holds a sentimental value having only just taken me the length of the country."

Mr Clouting's bike had been taken into the flat, but Mr Leslie was forced to leave his bike outside. The rear wheel of the bike was secured to the frame, but the railings were already occupied by two other bicycles meaning Mr Leslie was unable to secure it to a fixed spot.

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The bike went missing sometime between 9.30pm on Monday and 11am the following day.

A spokeswoman for Water Aid called the theft "appalling".

She added: "After all Douglas has done for Water Aid, to have his bike stolen at the end of the trip is just unspeakable. I hope he'll take some consolation in the fact that he would undoubtedly have had a fantastic adventure on the bike, and his and Peter's efforts will make a real difference to the lives of people living without clean water or sanitation throughout the world."

The theft comes just over a month after adventurer and author Gavin Francis completed a near round-the-world motorbike trip from Edinburgh to Sydney, only to have his machine stolen less than 24 hours after returning to Edinburgh.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that they were investigating the theft of a bicycle from an address at Blackwood Crescent and are appealing for anyone with information, or anyone who may have witnessed the bike being taken away to contact police.