A GREAT chase after two bicycle thieves has resulted in the successful recovery of the bikes – and a heartfelt thank you to the community that helped.

When Bob Turner and Mike Blackledge decided to take a tea break from their two-day bike ride from Windermere in Cumbria to Whitby at Penley's in Leyburn, little did they expect the drama that would ensue.

After parking their bikes outside the cafe and restaurant, they took a seat inside next to the window so they could keep an eye on their unlocked cycles.

But after settling down to their brews, their bikes were stolen and ridden away.

Mr Blackledge said: "I heard a knock at the window and looked up to see the bikes being stolen.

"We normally lock them up but because we were sat in the window we thought we could leave them.

"We jumped up straight away and shouted, "stop thief!" but as I ran out the shop I slipped in my cycling shoe.

"My colleague ran out and luckily, members of the community came to our aid.

"Two cars and a motorcyclist chased after them and managed to catch them in the garden centre on Harmby Road – they told the criminals to clear off.

"The bikes were brought back to us, and several people had offered their help with contacting police."

Mr Blackledge admitted the incident was almost humourous, especially so as it had a positive ending.

He said thanks to the community support they were able to continue with their Coast to Coast bike ride.

"Fortunately we saw the bikes disappearing and could act quickly, but without the help of the community we would not have got them back, but in the moment we didn't have the presence of mind to take people's names to thank them.

"I think the motorcyclist was from Middleham but I don't know any more. We want to let the people of Leyburn know how thankful we are."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "We are very grateful to the residents of Leyburn who stepped in to help get the bikes back.

"If anyone has any information, or can identify the thieves, please contact us on 101 with reference number 12180182960."