A GROUP of cyclists from Limerick who were left stranded in Liverpool after their support van was targeted by heartless thieves are due to return home later this evening.
The group - who are members of the Cycle 4 Sick Children charity - travelled by ferry to the UK yesterday morning ahead of the Ride for the 96 charity cycle which took place today.
Following their arrival on Merseyside, the group went for a tour of Anfield - the home of Liverpool FC .
According to police, while the group were inside the stadium, their van which was parked nearby was targeted by thieves who broke into the vehicle and took most of the contents.
In addition to the group’s bikes and equipment, which was worth around €30,000, their passports, cash and luggage were also taken.
Liam Mulcahy (34) from Rhebogue said what happened was “devastating”.
“I am a Liverpool fan and I’ve been over from Ireland 11 times before.
“This is a real kick in the teeth. Hillsborough is an important cause for me, but for a moment this made me feel like never coming back to Liverpool,” said Liam, who had been planning the trip for months along with his friends Gerry Finn, Richie Cleary, Barry O’Byrne, Stephen O’Meara and Pat Culligan.
The theft, which has attracted considerable media coverage in the UK, is being investigated by Merseyside Police.
“This is an absolutely terrible thing to happen to anyone visiting our city but it is made worse by the fact that this group are here to raise money for charity and a cause which is dear to so many Liverpudlians’ hearts,” said Chief Inspector Chris Hitchell.