A TEENAGER from Cheltenham claims he was followed home by a burglar before they stole a £1,000 mountain bike.
Jacob Boylan, 15, from Fairfield Walk in Leckhampton, was devastated when the custom-made bright orange 222 bike was taken from inside the garage adjoining his home.
The Bournside School pupil then remembered he had been followed home by a shady figure two weeks earlier.
He had also spotted a man peering over his hedge. When he challenged the man, who had approached in a van, he claimed he was looking for a lost football.
Now, both Jacob and his parents suspect it was the burglar checking out the premises before carrying out the crime.
"I didn't think too much about it at the time, but when the bike was stolen I thought back and it was pretty suspicious," he said. "It's unlikely he was really looking for a football because he was in a van so wouldn't have been playing.
"He was probably looking to see where I kept my bike so he could come back and get it.
"It's not nice to think you're being watched."
The burglary took place between 11pm last Sunday and 8am on Monday.
Thieves broke into the locked garage and dismantled the filing cabinet the bike was chained to.
Jacob said he was upset to find the bike had been taken.
"I was gutted," he said. "It took me ages to save up for that bike and I used it all the time.
"I would love to get it back."
Police urged anyone with information about the burglary to come forward.
You can contact officers on 101 quoting incident number 48 of January 21.