A SCHOOLBOY has told how thieves stole the bike he saved his paper round money for as he shopped for his sister’s birthday present.

Ben Hannaby, 13, parked his treasured £140 bike in a cycle rack between Poole railway station and the Dolphin Centre under Towngate Bridge last Saturday morning.

He returned a few hours later to find just the severed lock – and three other broken locks alongside.

“With my paper round I’d saved up for it for eight weeks,” he said.

“It was the first brand new bike I’d ever had.”

The teenager, who’d had the bike less than five months, said he was “annoyed and upset” by what happened but was borrowing another one to continue his paper round and hoped to start saving up again.

His mother Debbie Donovan told the Echo: “That bike was his life. It gave him that little bit of independence to get out and about. That’s been taken away from him.”

According to taxi drivers in the rank alongside the bike racks, Ben’s experience is all too common.

Driver Dave Hayfield told the Echo: “It happens all the time. I’ve had boys come over and ask me if I’ve seen anyone after their bikes have been stolen more than once.”

Fellow driver Trevor Lewis said: “I’ve seen kids trying to break into the bike lock-ups a couple of times in the past few weeks. We’ll shout across or honk the horns. We phone the police – but by the time they’ve got here they’ve gone.”

With a £150 excess on their household insurance Debbie said a claim is pointless.

“That isn’t solving the issue anyway,” she added. “This is going on all the time – what is being done about it?

Nick Phillips, accessibility team leader, Borough of Poole, which owns the land, said: “We are aware of thefts of bicycles in the Poole station area.

“We have therefore provided 17 enclosed bike storage containers under nearby Towngate Bridge.

“Owners can then lock their bicycles inside and also padlock the door to store their bikes securely and out of sight.”

The theft was reported to police.