Thieves steal over £100,000 worth of bikes from war veteran owned store

Eleven bikes were stolen from Portsmouth's LIOS bikes

Police tape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Over £100,000 worth of bikes were stolen from a Portsmouth based specialist bike retailer on Saturday morning.

In an organised effort, the thieves lifted 11 bikes from Lee-on-the-Solent’s LIOS bikes, a retailer and brand set up by war veteran Steve McCulley after his military career ended following severe injuries sustained in Afghanistan. 

Five individuals were spotted on CCTV, loading the bikes into a large van and car, at around 3am on Saturday morning. The thieves reportedly used petrol and battery dics cutters to get through the shutters and door, and had two people on mopeds on the look-out for interceptors.  

LIOS bikes acts as a retailer for brands such as Cervélo and Santa Cruz, but also manufactures its own titanium bikes - including aero and endurance models - as well as offering bespoke fitting.  

The brand was founded by former racer McCulley once his military career ended, following injuries caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). McCulley spent three weeks in a coma before beginning rehabilitation.

It’s not the first time that LIOS has been burgled. 

“We are all utterly devastated by what happened on Saturday,” McCulley said following the theft, adding: “I know I’ll never get the bikes back, as they’re probably already stripped down, but I am hoping that any attention that this gets might help to catch the criminals.”

The stolen bikes include seven own brand LIOS bikes, one custom painted Santa Cruz V10, a Santa Cruz Hightower, a custom Zerode Katipo, and one customer bike.

LIOS’ mission statement is to “innovate in the cycling industry in order to improve our overall health & wellbeing”, the store offers 3D motion analysis bike fitting as well as retailing for mainstream brands and creating custom titanium creations.

Hampshire Police told Cycling Weekly: "Officers attended the unit at Daedalus Park following an alarm activation at around 3am on Saturday 2 September."

They added: "A number of custom made bikes with an estimated value of around £100,000 were reported stolen. Enquiries remain ongoing and we ask anyone with information to contact police on 101, quoting 44230355152."

A 2022 study into bike theft in the UK revealed that a staggering 1,100 bikes are stolen every day, and that each year, 80,000 stolen bikes go unclaimed for. 

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.