Heartbreak as second Hackney cycle shop is torched by arsonists

Cycle Pit shop managers Andrew Bonometti, left, and Roger Telesford are angry after an arson attack

Cycle Pit shop managers Andrew Bonometti, left, and Roger Telesford are angry after an arson attack destroyed their shop in Netil Market. - Credit: Archant

The fate of a cycle repair workshop is in doubt after it was destroyed in a suspected arson attack – just weeks after a similar incident in Hackney.

The Cycle Pit Stop, in Netil Market, Westgate Road, was set alight in the early hours of last Saturday morning (March 23) and the blaze destroyed everything – including bikes and tools.

Last month, Bike Yard East, in Goldsmith’s Row, Hoxton, was also torched in an arson attack.

Owner Roger Telesford, 44, who set up the bike sales, repairs and servicing shop two years ago, is devastated. He said: “It was heartbreaking to know somebody burned the place on purpose when you do so much for the community. It’s my livelihood. I’m a single father. I have a six-year-old girl at home.

He said: “Everything was completely torched. Everything went, including our tools which are worth £3,000 and bikes which were worth £4,000. There was nothing we could salvage.

“We are cyclists. We built the shop with our hands. We provide a service for the neighbourhood.”

The shop repaired children’s bikes for free on a Sunday and held complementary workshops to show people how to look after their bikes. The shop was not insured, which means that Mr Telesford and manager Andrew Bonometti will be out of work and out of pocket until they can set up the business again. They are in the process of trying to raise funds.

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Mr Telesford added: “Unfortunately, there was no insurance. It was difficult to get insurance as it’s a second hand bike shop.”

Neighbouring businesses in Netil Market have banded together to help – with Arrow Jewellery, making jewellery out of remnants of the fire to help pay for repairs at a fundraiser at the market on Saturday.

“We want to thank everybody at Netil Market, our customers and the community for their support,” Mr Telesford said.

Customer Toni Blake, a cycling instructor of Cycle Training UK, said: “It’s so sad. Bike Yard East and Cycle Pit stop are both places I trust. I hope they both get up and going again as soon as possible.”

A spokesman from Hackney police said anyone with information should call Pc Sarah Milson from Queensbridge safer neighbourhoods team on 020 8721 2764.