HEARTLESS thieves have stolen a bike used by a dedicated lifeboat volunteer to attend 999 calls.
Sunderland lifeboat crew member Bill Maften uses the grey mountain bike to zip to the RNLI base in Roker, Sunderland, whenever there is an emergency call-out.
But he has been left without his trusty wheels after his RNLI-branded Trax cycle was stolen from his nearby home.
Now, lifeboat bosses are appealing for anyone who has taken the bike to return it.
Bill, 49, who also works as a maintenance man in a care home, said the bike was stolen between 2am and 6am on Friday from Akeld Mews in Roker.
Senior lifeboat helmsman Paul Nicholson added: “It is more important than just a bike – it is a vehicle for him to get down to the call-outs in a speedy fashion.
“We are asking anyone with information to return the bike or contact police.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “The bike is a Trax bike with RNLI stickers on the front.”
Inquiries into the theft are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call police on the non-emergency number, 101.