Thieves have stolen the two-wheeled pride and joy of a nine-year-old Elmer Sands boy.
Oliver Grout has been left distraught by the theft of his bicycle. He used it to go to and from school in Felpham daily.
His hopes of taking part in new cycle maintenance sessions during his lunchtimes have also been ruined by the theft.
He is now having to be driven to his lessons by his mother, Lucy Grout.
She said: “Oliver really looked after his bike. He was devastated when he realised it had been stolen.
“He couldn’t understand it. It was the first time he had experienced anything being stolen.
“And it was not just a little thing. It was a big thing which was stolen. It’s been quite an eye-opener for him.”
The thief struck overnight on Sunday night-Monday morning this week. Oliver had left his cycle hidden between the family car and the front garden wall of his home in The Layne.
“We never realised anything like this could happen in Elmer Sands.
“The person who took it would have had to have seen us riding the bikes during the day,” said Mrs Grout.
“They would have known where the bike was and come back to get it.
“They would not have just come across it by chance.”
The stolen bike was a blue and silver Claude Butler Battleaxe with a 24in frame. It was about a year old and cost some £260.
The thief left an old blue bike in its place. Oliver’s dad also had his bike taken but it was abandoned a short distance away. The family will be securing any new bikes in their back garden.
Mrs Grout said it was hoped to get a second-hand bike for Oliver in the next few weeks to enable him to restart his rides to school.
But a new cycle would have to wait for a while longer.