Thieves steal 15 bikes intended for Ukrainian refugees 

OWL bikes workshop run by Papworth Trust. 15 bikes intended for Ukrainian refugees were stolen. 

OWL bikes workshop run by Papworth Trust. 15 bikes intended for Ukrainian refugees were stolen. - Credit: Papworth Trust

As many as 15 bikes intended for Ukrainian refugees were stolen after thieves cut down a fence and broke into a Cambridgeshire charity’s yard. 

OWL Bikes is part of the Papworth Trust and their premises in Hawthorn Avenue, Cambridge, were broken into at the weekend and the bikes stolen.  

“It is dispiriting,” said Kevin Walshe, one of Papworth Trust’s workers who helps to run the centre.  

He said the bikes were outside the main building but inside the yard and were waiting to be refurbished and then distributed to Ukrainian refugees. All had been donated following a recent appeal.  

Mr Walshe said that although there had been one previous incident of a bike being stolen, this was on a different scale.  

He felt whoever was responsible must have planned it and had a van waiting to remove the bikes. 

A statement on the OWL Bikes Facebook page described the thieves as “heartless - these bikes had been kindly donated. 

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“They were being refurbished to give for free to Ukrainian refugees.  

“As you would expect, we have reported this to the police.  

“However, we now desperately need your help – do you have a good quality bike that you no longer need and could donate to such a good cause?” 

Donated bikes can be dropped at the centre or you contact Kevin on 01223 839580 or email  

The bike shop is staffed by people with disability. Any money it makes is ploughed back into the services provided by the charity.  

The statement added: “We are also helping Ukrainian people who are having an unimaginable time to have some sense of freedom.” 

It ended with a message to the thieves: “Shame on you.” 

OWL Bikes had announced earlier it had joined up with South Cambridgeshire District Council and Camtrust to give free second-hand quality bikes – with a helmet and lock – to guests from Ukraine who have arrived in South Cambridgeshire under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. 

Residents who may have a spare or not needed bicycle at home are being encouraged to donate it, so the cycles can be refurbished and passed to guests from Ukraine. 
Helena Harris, Director of Operations at Papworth Trust, said: “Everyone at Papworth Trust has been shocked and saddened to see the events unfolding in Ukraine.  

“We are all somebody’s friend, child, sibling, parent or partner – and the thought of our European neighbours living through such unimaginable suffering is heart-breaking.  

“OWL Bikes is delighted to join in partnership with South Cambridgeshire District Council and be able to offer practical support to the Ukrainian refugees.