Thieves ruined Christmas for two Sunderland schoolboys after they stole the new bikes they were given as presents.
Pals Lewis Hall and Michael Rooks, 12, had left the bicycles locked up outside Burger King in Sunderland city centre as they enjoyed a day out.
But when they returned to the fast food restaurant to go home, the bikes, each costing hundreds of pounds, were nowhere to be seen.
Lewis’s mum Rachel Rocks, 33, told the Echo: “Whoever has done this has ruined Christmas for the boys.”
Police have confirmed they are now looking at CCTV footage in the Market Square area of the city centre in a bid to track down those responsible.
“Lewis said even though the bikes were locked up he kept on going back to check they were still there,” said Rachel, of Fordfield Road, Pennywell.
“He went back twice and then the third time he saw that the locks had been snipped and both bikes stolen.
“I could understand if the bikes weren’t locked up but they were.
“He is absolutely distraught because it was his main present and he’d been playing with it every day.”
Rachel, who is also mum to Sonny, eight months, is now hoping that the thieves can be found and brought to justice.
“We got a good deal on the bike but it cost more than £200 and can’t afford to get another one,” she said.
“It must be two people who have it because both bikes were taken. “They are absolute scumbags who have ruined my son’s Christmas.
“They have no respect for anyone.
“The bike was his main gift and now he has nothing to show for it.”
Michael’s dad Daniel, 31, of Tunstall, said: “I was driving around Sunderland for hours looking for the bikes after the police told me about but I haven’t seen them.
“It’s absolutely disgusting what these people have done, especially when it’s only a few days after Christmas.”
The bikes, a blue and green Carrera belonging to Lewis, who goes to Academy 360 in Pennywell, and a black and white Giant which was given to Michael, who attends Southmoor, were swiped sometime between 6pm and 6.30pm on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “Police are carrying out enquiries after two bikes were stolen from outside Burger King in Market Square in Sunderland on Thursday, December 29, between 6pm and 6.30pm.
“Enquiries are on-going to trace the bikes - a blue and green Carrera and a black and white Giant - and the offenders.
“Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in Market Square around the time of the theft.”
Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 835 291216 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.