Thieves raid Bike Recycling Centre

Appalled: Vid Zukowski and his volunteers are angry about the break-in at the community bike recycling centre.
Appalled: Vid Zukowski and his volunteers are angry about the break-in at the community bike recycling centre. Trevor Veale

THE devastated crew at Coffs Harbour’s Community Bike Recycling Centre can certainly do with your help.

They turned up to their workshop at the showground on Wednesday morning to discover thieves had broken in and cleaned them out.

The robbers had scaled the roof overnight and forced their way into the facility, where they helped themselves to as much as $500 worth of tools.

They grabbed 20 screwdrivers, four specialist spanners and a chainbreaker, along with a BMX frame and a mountain bike.

Training supervisor Vid Zukowski was shocked to learn they had taken his tools, too, including a socket set, a large spanner, a shifter and a ratchet screwdriver.

“I can’t believe people can go around and steal off a charity,” Mr Zukowski said.

“If they wanted a bike, all they had to do was to put their name on a list with Coffs Harbour Employment and Support Services.”

That organisation, known as CHESS, and Coffs Harbour City Council run the recycling centre where volunteers who are out of work restore old bicycles to their former glory. “We get bikes donated to us and we pull them apart and re-grease the bearings, replace the brakes and adjust the gears,” Mr Zukowski said.

“They’re turned into brand new, refurbished bikes safe for the road and they’re sold to low-income earners for $30 so we can pay the rent.”

Mr Zukowski hopes the thieves will have a change of heart and return the stolen items. He’s not holding his breath, though, so he hopes the community can help.

“We want the public to know we are short of tools and short of mountain bikes so if they’ve got bikes or mechanical tools to donate, they can contact CHESS on 6691 9333,” he said.

“We appreciate all the help we can get and we’re also looking for volunteers.”

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