War veteran in final appeal over children's bikes stolen from North Hykeham
A dad is offering a reward to anyone who returns his children's stolen bikes after being targeted twice in two months.
Former RAF squadron leader Paul Bolton – who earned medals for operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan – has had more than £2,000 worth of cycles stolen from the garage of his North Hykeham home.
But in a last-ditch effort, he is hoping an offer of £200 may encourage someone to come forward.
In the last incident, thieves forced their way through three door locks before hauling three bikes from the wall they were secured to.
Mr Bolton, 45, said his own "completely wrecked" cycle had been recovered, but the family had given up their mountain biking passion for fear they would be robbed again.
He said: "We're all devastated.
"The police have said we should seriously consider whether we keep bikes here anymore as they will just come back.
"I was angry initially, but I'm just resigned to the fact that's the end of my cycling career.
"I've done it my entire life and I was hoping to get back into doing it competitively.
"I've also been going out with my kids most weekends – it's something I really loved.
"I haven't driven to work for about ten or 12 years, so they've taken my way of getting to work and we've lost our hobby."
Three bikes were taken from Mr Bolton's house in Belton Park Drive early on Thursday, January 7.
Thieves stole his one-week-old £1,250 cycle and his children's two Christmas presents, worth a total of £800.
It came after the flying instructor's £450 bike was taken in mid-December.
Mr Bolton, who now works as a civilian at RAF Waddington, has to spend two hours walking every day just to get to work.
And he is also stepping down from a charity cycling and canoeing challenge this summer.
He said: "My kids feel violated that someone would come in and take their things.
"They use them every day, so they are stuck now and are missing that independence.
"And it's a loss of faith for them – they're questioning the point of working for something if someone is just going to come in and take it.
"They are doing well at school and studying hard, but they are thinking 'what's the point?'.
"It's sad to see."
It is thought a crowbar was used to rip open the door in the second theft and a screw driver also used to force an attachment from the wall.
A bike lock was soon found in the nearby Fen Lane Park before police recovered Mr Bolton's ruined mountain bike a few days later.
Anyone with information should call police on 101.