BIKER Dennis Iles couldn’t believe his eyes when he woke up to find four of his beloved classic motorbikes stolen from his Greenmeadow home.

The 83-year-old, who spent more than 10 years restoring them, awoke on Thursday to find that his garage had been ripped open and the bikes taken.

Three of them were found nearby, torched and charred, with parts of the wheel guards bubbling as a result of the fire damage.

But the widower’s beloved 1962 grey NSU Quickly moped, which belonged to his wife’s late brother, was not found until Friday afternoon.

He said: “I built that one from scratch. What’s even worse is that it’s the start of the riding season. I was going to go out on Sunday but I’m not going to now.”

Police tracked down the stolen moped after members of the public reported seeing it being ridden by a youth along Pond Street in Haydon Wick and on Sevenfields.

They tracked three youths to the top of Sevenfields, where they dumped the moped and scarpered towards Inglesham Road in Penhill.

But theywere not able to catch them, despite bringing in a police dog to help hunt them down.

Two of the youths were white and about 15 years old. One wore a white hoodie and jeans, the other a black puffer jacket, blue jeans and white trainers with a blue crash helmet.

A police spokesman said: “Our sincere thanks to the people who called in after seeing the stolen vintage moped being ridden by a youth along Pond Street Haydon Wick and on Sevenfields.”

What most upset Dennis about the burglary was the way his motorcycles had been treated.

He said: “I would understand if they had taken it out and ridden it around for a bit and then dumped it somewhere, or tried to sell it. I wouldn’t have been happy but I would understand. But just to take them out and torch them, I don't understand that at all.”

Dennis has CCTV cameras around his property, and was aware that he was being targeted.

He said: “It all started around two weeks ago, when I looked at my monitor and I noticed the camera was pointing at the sky.

“I just thought someone was mucking around and having a joke.

“But then last weekend it happened again, and I also tried to open the garage door. Normally it opens up fine but this time it was scraping along the floor. When I got it open I realised it had been bent, and someone had really tried to force it open.”

PCSO Emma Harriman said: “I would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to us immediately." Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, with reference number *23952.