Desperate appeal after autistic man has his bike stolen

Barnardo's volunteer Matt Cartledge, pictured, who has had his bike stolen.

Barnardo's volunteer Matt Cartledge, pictured, who has had his bike stolen.

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The friend of a young man with learning difficulties is appealing for help to track down his stolen bicycle or find a replacement.

Marie Healey, of Chesterfield, was furious to learn how Barnardo’s charity shop volunteer Matthew Cartledge, 24, of Green Farm Close, Loundsley Green, Chesterfield, had his new bike stolen from his block of flats.

Matt Cartledge's bike which was stolen in Chesterfield.

Matt Cartledge's bike which was stolen in Chesterfield.

Ms Healey said: “Matthew is autistic and volunteers at Barnardo’s, on Trevorrow Crescent, Chesterfield, and is such a friendly, kind and helpful young man whenever I go into the shop with my youngster to buy toys. He is so honest and trusting and I was really upset to learn he had his bicycle stolen after he had been saving up for it and had only just bought it.”

Police confirmed Matthew’s blue and black Boardman MX Sport mountain bike was stolen from the communal stairway of his flats between 2.30pm, on September 2, and 9.45am, on September 3.

A Derbyshire police spokesman said the bike had been chained up near a communal stairway but the lock had been cut and it had been stolen.

Ms Healey added: “I was once in such a hurry in the Barnardo’s shop I dropped and lost £120 but when I went back to the shop Matthew had found the money and put it in a safe for me. He is so friendly with my son and because they are both autistic we often have a chat about the kind of problems they face.

“Since I learned his bike had been stolen I have been determined to help him find it or to get a replacement.”

Matthew had also only just moved into his flat four months ago according to Ms Healey who fears the impact of the theft will be felt more deeply by Matthew because of his condition and circumstances.

Ms Healey has urged anyone who may know anything about the theft to contact Derbyshire Constabulary. She has contacted the Halfords store where Matthew bought the bike in the hope they might provide a replacement. Anyone with information should call Derbyshire Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in confidence.