A FORMER cross-country champion fears he was followed home before a brand new mountain bike was stolen from his home.
Former championship racer Mark Fountain-Barber believes he was targeted in a premeditated burglary.
The 29-year-old had returned to his home in Coltham Road, Battledown, following a cycle ride in Painswick on the new £3,000 bike he had saved for two years to buy.
He locked it away in his shed at about 6pm. But, when he checked the following morning, he found the door prised open and the bike gone.
Mark was adamant it was not a random theft.
Mark's suspicions were heightened when he realised nothing else had been stolen.
And he was told that, because nothing else was stolen, it was likely he had been followed home for the bike.
He said: "I used to ride competitively at a high standard and wanted to get started again after a long break.
"So I saved for a couple of years to buy something a bit more extravagant and made sure to lock it away.
"Someone must've followed me home on Sunday.
"When I checked the shed on Monday morning, only one bike was gone, but the two others I own were left behind.
"This was an organised crime – they knew what they wanted."
Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire police said: "We were called to Coltham Road after a Cube Mountain Bike in black was stolen from a shed some time between 6pm on Sunday and 7.30am on Monday."
The stolen bike was a Super HPC 140 SL 29er Full Suspension Mountain Bike 2013.
The Echo revealed in January that burglars in Cheltenham have started stealing goods to order, advertising items online before they have even snatched them.
The trend was spotted by Bournside pupil Jacob Boylan, from Leckhampton, who had a £1,000 mountain bike stolen.
The 15-year-old was followed home by a shady character two weeks before his orange 222 model was swiped.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting incident number 54 of March 11.