AN APPRENTICE butcher who found a job via a hit television series has had his bike stolen while he was out on a date.

Carl Owen featured on BBC3 show Invasion of the Job Snatchers earlier in the year, in which he was offered the chance of a fresh start in Christchurch.

Carl, originally from Warrington, started his new life in December after winning an apprenticeship with F.A. Lambe and Sons, Marlow Drive, having impressed master butcher Robin Lambe with his hardworking attitude.

Carl said he has loved living in the town and heaped praise on everybody in the community for making him feel so welcome and giving him a second chance after experiencing such a troubled past. However, on Sunday afternoon he found that his £300 black Giant Escape bike, which he had left locked up outside bookmaker Coral on Bargates, had been stolen.

“I don’t drive and my bike is my lifeline,” added Carl. “I am upset and it is not something I expected to happen in Christchurch.”

Carl said he had left his bike at 3pm on Saturday before going to meet his date for a romantic barbecue on Southbourne beach.

He added that the date had been fantastic but that his emotions quickly changed when he realised what had happened.

“It is so disappointing really. It is the only way I have of getting to work. This one person who has stolen my bike has put a dampener on Christchurch,” he said.

Carl now has to walk for an hour every morning from his home in Matchams Lane to get to work and urged anyone with information about the whereabouts of his bike to come forward.

“Someone stole the bike because they were in a bad place, they were desperate, but that is no excuse.”