If anyone offers you one of my stolen bikes, kick 'em in the nuts' says Badenoch hub owner
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The owner of a Badenoch bike centre has vented his anger on line today at the thieves who broke in and trashed the place.
Duncan Bailey, of the Wee Bike Hub at the Laggan Wolftrax Centre, raged: "After trying our best to survive this shit storm with Covid, lockdown and virtually no business since October, I get a huge kick in the balls.
"I am absolutely raging."
He pledged: "All customers affected will be contacted and arrangements will be made. A list of all the bikes and stock will be posted up soon, and please share far and wide."
Then he pleaded: "And if anyone is offering you a cheap bike, kick em in the nuts and steal it back."
The Badenoch outward bound attraction launched in the spring of 2015 and went on to boast more than 25,000 visitors a year.
The Laggan Wolftrax Mountain Bike Centre was backed by public funding and designed to make the most of wild forest and mountain biking trails.
Today Mr Bailey told the Strathy it was heartbreaking: "We have worked so hard to build up the business and then to survive all the bad news of the last few months.
"We have two young kids at home but I've hardly seen them in recent months because I've had to work so hard to keep the business going through all the tough times.
"Now, when new stock was in and bikes were just ready to go out to the customers – many many thousands of pounds worth of bikes – we find them all gone and the place smashed open."
It's understood that the centre, in the Strathmashie forest – from which a wide network of forestry roads and walking trails interconnect the area between the village of Laggan and Loch Laggan – was broken into around midnight. Locals have said they had loud banging going on.
Power to the centre's broadband network was apparently cut shortly afterwards.
First evidence of the break in was spotted early in the morning by a local woman walking her dog. The Baileys were then alerted and since then detectives have been down to investigate.
No statement has yet been released by Police Scotland, but Mr Bailey said: "We want anyone who heard or hopefully saw anything to come forward as soon as possible.
"We are probably the third bike hub to be hit in a spate of attacks in the north of the country.
"It's definitely an organised job with a team going round taking the pick of the equipment.
"We had ebikes ready to go out as well and they've been taken. It's too early to put a definite value on it all but it's obviously many thousands. We're currently checking all the insurance papers as much as everything else.
"It's exactly what we didn't need after all we've been through."
Mr Bailey told the Strathy in May 2019 at the fourth birthday birthday: “We are proud to support the local community acquiring and looking after this small fleet of e-bikes. We intend local residents to use them for everyday journeys and to use cars less, ideally. These e-bikes present an opportunity for people to try before buying”.
Today he said: "The thieves have taken literally all our hire fleet."
More information later as details emerge.