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'It's useless to anyone else' - disabled boy, 11, loses custom-built bike to determined thieves

The theft of a custom-built, made-to-measure bike has left disabled 11-year-old Oli Emery unable to make the simplest of trips to school or his friend's house.

Oli was born with arthrogriposis, a congenital condition that means he can't bend his knees like other kids. His specially made bike makes it possible for him to live a normal life.

"He uses it absolutely every day," says mum Erina Emery. "If he wants to go to his friend's house, he can't walk there, so he rides his bike. It gives him the independence to be like a normal kid. I don't know what we're going to do in the meantime."

Oli's had this adapted bike for just six months. It has a standard wheel at the front and an undersized wheel on the back, along with a very small crank made to suit Oli's limited range of motion.

"The guy who makes it is in Levin and it's about a four-month process and costs around $2000. It's completely custom made for him, for his legs and body and what he can do," says Ms Emery.

His family says it's huge for Oli to be able to get around on his bike. "If we've going anywhere that's a lot of walking, he takes his bike because he can’t walk very far. It's specially made for him and absolutely useless for anyone else."

The bike was stolen from outside the family’s home in Epson on Friday night, along with 16-year-old Mason’s Merida Big Seven mountain bike, and items from the family’s cars, including Oli's favourite CD.

"You can't see them from the road. They've actually come up and had a look around to see what's up here."

Oli turns 12 years old next week, and the family says they'd love it if the bike just reappeared back on the front porch or was handed into the police.

"We can replace the other bike but we're particularly keen to get Oli's bike back."

Oil Emery with his custom-built bike.
Oil Emery with his custom-built bike. Source: 1 NEWS