A YOUNG man with learning difficulties is one of an increasing number of people to have had their bicycle stolen from Bracknell in the last year.

On Saturday morning Olivier Kent woke up at 5.45am to cycle from Great Hollands to Princess Square, where he helps out at the market on weekends.

The 23 year-old locked his bike up behind one of the gazebos and set about doing odd jobs for the stall holders, regularly going round to check his drop handlebar two-wheeler, which is black with a red go-faster stripe near the saddle, was still secure.

At 3.10pm he called his mother Hazel to tell her it was gone.

She said: "His father bought that bike for him for Christmas last year.

"I spoke to the security people and they were so lovely and so helpful. He said there was a spate of this recently and around 30 bikes were stolen. Only three were retrieved.

"It is the brazenness of it. He was right behind the gazebo. It's not worth claiming it back because I have a £150 excess."

Although The Lexicon would not confirm or deny the security guard's figures, official police data from November 2016 to October 2017 shows a stark rise in this kind of crime.

In 2014/15, 249 bicycles were reported stolen from Bracknell and Wokingham.

By 2016/17, that figure had jumped to 452, an 81 per cent increase.

Of all those reports, only 12 ended with an outcome, such as an arrest or a bicycle being returned.

The Kents have decided to go a different route and ask the Bracknell community to chip-in to help buy a new bike for Oliver.

So far £200 has been donated, with one man unknown to the family, Nathan Gibbons, stumping up £100.

Mrs Kent continued: "People are so lovely. It really restores your faith in humanity."

To help buy Oliver a new bike for Christmas, click here.

Rob Morris, general manager at The Lexicon, said: “The Lexicon provides cycle racks for members of the public to use but bicycles are left at the owners’ risk.

"Any thefts of bicycles should be reported to the Police in the usual way."