A PAIR of Barrhead youngsters are back on their bikes after being targeted by thieves, thanks to the intervention of a generous businessman.

Seven-year-old Ryleigh Ferguson and his big sister Leia-mairead, 10, were left gutted when the new bikes they received for Christmas were stolen from their home in Stormyland Way.

Ryleigh’s green BMX-style bike and Leia-mairead’s purple and pink mountain bike were pinched from their close by opportunistic criminals on January 5.

Mum Carolyne Feeley posted pictures of the bikes on Facebook and asked friends to keep an eye out for them, in the hope they might be able to get them back.

Sadly, despite the post being shared far and wide, the bikes were not recovered – but businessman Gerry Strain read about the situation in the Barrhead News and decided to help out.

He purchased a brand new green BMX for Ryleigh and a purple Muddy Fox for Leia-mairead and delivered them straight to their house on Saturday.

Carolyne said: “We live in maisonette houses and all the bikes and things like that are kept in the close. Unfortunately, where we live has gone a bit downhill and, a few days after Christmas, someone went into the close and took the bikes.

“I put it on Facebook in case anyone saw them but they must have been sold on and taken out of the area. They were really good, new bikes and we’ve never had any word about them.

“We know a lot of people in Barrhead and everyone shared our story but we never had any luck. That’s why it’s amazing that Gerry did this out of the kindness of his heart.

“My wee boy, especially, was devastated when his bike was stolen, as he absolutely loved it. But they were both over the moon when the new ones were delivered.

“It’s such a nice gesture and we were so surprised. He didn’t have to do that and we’re so thankful.”

Gerry, managing director of Document Solutions in East Kilbride, was raised in Barrhead and moved away a few years ago. However, he keeps up with what’s happening in the town by reading the Barrhead News and was disappointed to learn of the theft.

He said: “Growing up in Barrhead, there was always a very strong sense of community and, from the outside looking in, it appears to have eroded over the years.

“On a purely personal level, I was annoyed that two children effectively had their Christmas stolen from them and I wanted to try to put that right.

“I’m very fortunate to have my own growing businesses, both in Scotland and Ireland, and I have a very good network of contacts around me across all markets, so it was easy enough for me to source the bikes on a quick turnaround.”

No stranger to philanthropy, Gerry has done a few good deeds for people in Barrhead in the past, including donating 15 computers to local young people in 2004 and organising a fundraising football match to help send an autistic teen to swim with dolphins in Florida.

He added: “I think that it’s really incumbent on everyone to help make a difference where they can, no matter how small a gesture, because we just never know when we might be the ones in need ourselves.

“I really hope the kids are happy with the new bikes and they enjoy the freedom that a bike gives you as a child.”