A HEARTLESS thief stole a bicycle used in a late cyclist’s funeral procession from outside a church while mourners paid their respects inside.

The hearse carrying NHS worker Daniel Burgess’ coffin was accompanied by eight of his close friends on their bikes on a journey around Bournemouth.

After the procession ended, they left their bikes outside Corpus Christi Church in Boscombe and went inside for the funeral service.

But they were shocked to discover one of the bikes was snatched during the 90 minute service.

Daniel’s distraught widow Amy Burgess, a neonatal nurse, is now asking for anyone with information on the bike’s whereabouts to come forward.

The specialised stumpjumper bicycle has a bright orange frame and is described as in ‘good condition’.

It was taken between 12pm and 1.30pm on Friday, February 14.

Mrs Burgess said: “It is our friend’s bike and was one of eight used to ride alongside the hearse on the final part of the journey to the church.

“I am so angry that someone would take this knowing there was a funeral going on inside. It’s a very low thing to do.

“There was only room for four of the bikes inside so the other four were rested up outside.

“There were people out there the whole time, except when the funeral staff had to come in to carry the coffin out.

“That is when it must have been taken so it could be that someone was watching to see when they were left unattended.

“There were funeral cars parked outside and the church doors were open and church completely full.”

Following Daniel’s death, his friends set up a crowdfunding page in his memory to raise money for mental health charity ‘Mind’, raising £3,400 so far, beating an initial target of £250.