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Bury St Edmunds theft: 'Labour of love' restored army motorbike stolen

A restored army motorbike which was a ‘labour of love’ for its owner who spent thousands of hours returning it to its former glory has been stolen.

Ewan Mess has spent the last three years restoring the Armstrong MT500 British Army bike, which was taken from outside his home in Yeomanry Yard, Bury St Edmunds.

The vehicle, manufactured in 1983 and one of the last British built army bikes, was stolen at some point between 11pm on Thursday, May 14, and 9.30am the following day.

Ewan Mess with his bike which was stolen (34858987)
Ewan Mess with his bike which was stolen (34858987)

Mr Mess, 48, spent more than £1,000 and an estimated 2,000 hours restoring the bike.

“It had a complete nut and bolt rebuild which means it has been stripped down to its most basic parts and then rebuilt,” he said.

“I did all of that. The only thing I had left to do was put in the newly upholstered seat. That’s all I’ve got now is the seat – I was just waiting to get it upholstered.

“I feel terrible. I understand that things get stolen and I understand right now people are quite desperate but they’ve got to realise that stealing from individuals hurts a lot more people than it helps.”

Mr Mess said it was his only means of transport and he was unable to visit his family who live outside the area as a result of the theft.

The bike was used in the Army until the early 1990s, went missing for a few years and was found in a barn in Scotland. Its previous owner had started some work on it before Mr Mess bought it from them about four or five years ago.

He said restoring the bike had helped him through a long term illness.

“It was a labour of love trying to restore a piece of British history because it was the last of the British built army bikes,” he said.

Mr Mess has also placed information about the theft on Facebook.

Contact Suffolk Police via www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update quoting reference 37/26647/20.

  • Another bike was stolen in Bury around the same time. The white Yamaha XT 125cc motorbike, registration AD59 NUF, was taken from Willcox Avenue between 10pm on May 14 and 9am May 15. The reference is 37/26634/20.

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