A 'DESPICABLE' thief deliberately targeted a 12-year-old boy, tricking him to steal his bike and leaving him heartbroken.

Joel Isaac had only had his bike for 10 weeks before it was taken by the heartless thief near the Elgar Statue in Cathedral Square.

The man wormed his way into Joel's confidence and tricked him into letting him ride it - before brazenly cycling away on it.

Mum Gayle, 43, said he was devastated as the bike was Joel's "pride and joy" and had been using it everyday to get to Nunnery Wood High School.

The 12-year-old took the bike out at 5.15pm on Monday and was waiting for his friends at the statue when he was approached by the man.

Miss Isaac said: "He started to talk to him about the bike, what make it was, how much it cost, showing an interest in it.

"He said 'can I have a quick try'.

"Joel felt like he had to let him have a go, and told him he could as long as it was just round here.

"But the man got on and rode off.

"I don't blame Joel - he is only 12, he was intimidated. I completely blame the thief.

"I can’t believe anybody could be so despicable."

"Joel waited an hour, looked for him making sure there was always someone at the statue, but of course he didn't come back.

"Joel has only had the bike a few weeks and it had only been serviced that day. It is his first proper bike.

"He even made us take it in the car when we went to Cornwall at the start of the summer holidays."

The stolen blue, white and green Carrera Valour mountain bike, was bought for £225.

Joel, who lives with his mum, two sisters and his brother in Southfield Street, describes the thief as in his 30s, with a short brown beard and brown hair. The thief was wearing an Adidas tracksuit and trainers when he stole the mountain bike.

Miss Isaac added that after appealing for information on social media, a woman contacted her to say a man matching that description was spotted weaving in and out of traffic on a bike in City Walls Road.

"The woman private messaged me," Miss Isaac said.

"It sounds like the man, so he must have stole it and rode off in that direction."

Sam Pisani, Cathedral Square centre manager, said police had checked their CCTV and although the boy can be seen with the bike, it pans away the moment the theft takes place.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said there had been no arrests, and they have no named suspects.

The spokesman warned the public to be vigilant of this trick in case this theft is attempted again.

In a similar incident on the same day, three men, all around 19-years-old, went over to another boy at Crowngate Bus Station at 5.50pm and told him he had a nice bike.

One of them, who was wearing a Gucci cap and a khaki green Northface jacket, stole the boy's bike while the youngster got off to pick something up he had dropped.

The offender rode the bike, a green Carerra Vendetta, in the direction towards Browns restaurant.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting 0534S for the Cathedral Square theft, and 0597S for the Bus Station theft.