A FORMER army staff sergeant is watching his racing career go downhill after his bike was stolen in a series of garage break-ins.

Residents of Tolpuddle reported four garage break-ins and one attempted break-in during the course of a single night.

Items taken included alcohol, bike wheels and fishing equipment.

Stuart Derbyshire awoke to find his Saracen downhill mountain bike had been stolen.

He said: “It’s just not a very nice thing to have happened.

“That bike was a present to myself when I retired from the army in 2012.”

Mr Derbyshire, who was based at Bovington during his time in the armed forces, took part in downhill races for six years.

He added: “I was hoping to start competing again on this bike, but that’s not going to happen now. It’s really frustrating.”

The bike is black, yellow and green and has Rock Shox front forks, Fusion Vengeance rear shocks with a titanium spring and NUC handle bars, seats and pedals.

Another resident had his bike wheels stolen during the crime spree. They are described as specialised ground control sports wheels.

Mr Derbyshire, who now works as a health and safety advisor at Dorset County Council, said some alcohol was also missing from his garage.

He added: “We had quite a bit left over from Christmas and New Year, and that’s gone.

“Maybe they just saw the bike and decided to take it by pure chance, but I can’t bear the thought of it being wrecked or chopped up for parts.”

Police are urging any witnesses or people with information on the thefts to come forward. No arrests have been made.

PC Vernon Roberts of Dorchester police station said: “These are upsetting crimes for all of the victims and ones that occurred within a close proximity to one another.

“I would urge anyone with information or who is offered or recognises the items described, in particular the distinctive mountain bike, to contact Dorset Police on 101.”