Thieves steal a treasured light infantry cap that was on a bike stolen from Benwick

Darren Finley on the stolen bike

Darren Finley on the stolen bike - Credit: Archant

A former British Transport police officer, who moved to the area five months ago to start a new life running a cycle training business, is appealing to thieves to return a bike that holds memories which cannot be replaced.

Darren Finley's stolen bike - a 2014 Trek Domain

Darren Finley's stolen bike - a 2014 Trek Domain - Credit: Archant

The last year has not been easy for Darren Finley. His wife died and he was signed off from work with post traumatic stress syndrome.

But on the handlebars of his stolen Trek Domaine bike, was a light infantry cap badge given to him for nine tours of duty in Northern Ireland during the worst of the troubles, which had become his inspiration to get through.

Darren Finley's stolen bike

Darren Finley's stolen bike - Credit: Archant

“I used cycling as my therapy and would train and ride for miles, “ he said.

“When things got tough I would look at that cap and it would spur me on to keep going,” he said.

Darren Finley's stolen bike showing the treasured light infantry cap

Darren Finley's stolen bike showing the treasured light infantry cap - Credit: Archant

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Cycling became such a passion that last year he make a life changing decision to move to the Fens from Salisbury to set up Duo Velo.

He is now the world’s only mobile Sufferfest bike event organiser as well as offering training for road and trek biking, turbo training, cycling proficiency for children and private coaching for families or individuals.

Darren Finley on duty in Northern Ireland

Darren Finley on duty in Northern Ireland - Credit: Archant

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“I closed my eyes, stuck a pin in a map and it led me here,” he said.

But while running a turbo training cycle class at Benwick village hall, in an opportunity slot of just 30 minutes, thieves slashed his securely-locked 2014 bike, worth £1,300, from a rack on his van parked at the side of the hall.

He said: “That bike meant so much to me. It got me through some tough times, it was on that I met my new partner, I used it to follow sections of the Tour de France route last year.

“The cap has probably been tossed aside as nobody would realise the sentimental value of it.

“I’ve just found out my insurance will only cover me for £500. I would urge anybody who knows anything about the bike or even just the cap to please report it to police and help me get it back.”

• The 2014 Trek Domaine bike was taken from outside Benwick Village Hall on Friday 19 between 7pm and 7.30pm.

For details of events and bike training locally with Darren’s company visit his website Duo Velo

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