A MOTOCROSS rider who was left devastated after thieves stole his bikes was able to take part in a competition at the weekend thanks to the generosity of members of the public.

About £7,000 worth of kit, including two bikes, was stolen from Richard Cowley’s locked garage in Pinehurst last week, just days before he was due to compete in the first round of the mini pit bike championships in Scunthorpe.

Richard, a 38-year-old van driver, of Liddington Street, thought his career in riding was over when he discovered exactly how much had been taken in the raid and appealed for information in the Adver.

He was delighted when an Isle of Wight-based company called Water and Wheels got in touch to provide him with a bike for the weekend, while friends rallied round and supplied him with the necessary kit.

Thanks to their generosity, Richard was able to take part in the competition and came seventh out of 31 competitors. He said: “I was pleased with how I did and I just want to say thanks to the company that donated the bike and everyone that got in touch to help me out after word got around about what had happened.

“I didn’t know of the company before they got in touch – I think they must have heard about what happened through different forums.”

On the back of the appeal, Richard also received an anonymous tip-off about one of the bikes that had been stolen – a £3,000 orange KTM 250 SX, which featured skulls graphics.

He said: “I was told where the bike would be dumped, so we have managed to recover it.

“But it is completely damaged, they have taken all the decor from the frame.

“I will try to sort it out, but it was worth £3,000 so it is going to cost a lot to repair it.

“I did have thoughts that a professional had taken the bikes and was going to sell them on out of Swindon and I would never see them again, but it has come to light that the other bike is still in the area, which is a godsend.”

The other bike which is still missing is a black Stomp pit bike 140cc, with blue graphics. Also still missing is body armour, knee braces, two helmets, four sets of goggles and some riding tights.

Richard said: “I believe the bike is in the Pinehurst area. It is very distinctive and very loud. I am offering a reward to anyone who knows where it is.”

Wiltshire Police are investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to contact them on 101. Witnesses can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

To contact Richard, email r_cowley2001@yahoo.co.uk