18 March, 2014
An 83-year-old classic motorcycle enthusiast has hit out at a gang of youths who heartlessly stole and torched his prized collection.
Dennis Iles, who had spent more than a decade restoring the vehicles, was horrified when he found his garage had been raided overnight.
He assumed they had been stolen to order - but later discovered they had been joy-ridden around his estate before being set on fire.
“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,” said the collector.
“But just to take them out and torch them, I don’t understand that at all.”
Among the collection was a 1962 grey NSU Quickly moped, which he had built from scratch.
His garage was broken into in the early hours on March 13. Police are now appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
Although Mr Iles will never feel fully recompensed, the incident does underscore the importance of keeping your motorcycle safe and fully covered by classic motorcycle insurance - just in case the worst does happen.
Footman James provides insurance that is tailored with enthusiasts in mind. It offers 24-hour breakdown and accident emergency assistance, both in the UK and Europe, policy cover in EU countries, legal protection, European travel, personal accident and road rage, and even agreed value in some cases.
Three of the bikes belonging to Mr Iles were found nearby later the same day, although all of them were torched and charred.
The NSU, meanwhile, was found on March 14 when members of the public reported seeing a youth riding it in nearby Haydon Wick. Police gave chase but were unable to catch three men.
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.
Anyone with any information which could help police trace the offenders and/or the stolen moped are asked to call 101 quoting crime reference *23952, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.