A DEVASTATED 90-year-old man is at a loss after “heartless” thieves broke into his garden shed and stole his beloved bikes.

Great-grandfather John Gilburt, from Peacehaven, had been riding to Brighton every morning for his lockdown exercise breaks.

But burglars made off with two of his precious bikes over the weekend and he has been left in shock.

His son Jonathan Gilburt, 58, from Newhaven, said: “It’s affected him very badly. He’s really frustrated – I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so upset.

“He’s been sick with worry, and he’s become much more cautious. He feels like he has to lock everything up now. It’s like he’s turning his house into Fort Knox.”

The Argus:

Jonathan and his father have seen a neighbour’s CCTV footage, which they said shows two men breaking into the shed in the early hours of Saturday morning, at the house John lives in with his 84-year-old wife Barbara.

They took John’s electric Haibike, which was a Christmas present from his family, as well as his classic Dawes touring bike, which he has owned for 40 years and holds huge sentimental value.

Jonathan had been trying to help his father sell the electric bike, and believes the thieves may have targeted the property using an address provided to a prospective buyer.

John is an avid cyclist, and had just started getting back on his bike after the lockdown restrictions were eased for elderly people, who have had to stay home for weeks now.

Jonathan said his father was a “frail but fairly fit fellow”, and the pair cycled to Paris two years ago, when John was 88. “He still does quite a bit of mileage,” Jonathan said.

He is missing his daily rides, and the family have offered a “substantial reward” for the return of the two bikes.

The Argus:

This is the latest in a string of bike thefts along the coast, with callous criminals showing little consideration for their victims.

One was a doctor on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis. Michael Savage, 33, works in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.

After a busy shift, he returned to find his bike had been stolen from outside the hospital, leaving him unable to use it to get to work.

Last month, an elderly man discovered a huge haul of stolen bikes in Roedean.

Sussex Police are now trying to reunite the bikes with their owners, who have been encouraged to contact the force online or call 101, quoting serial 831 of 24/04.