THIEVES have lifted specialist heavyweight "strongman" equipment weighing around 2,000lb.

The equipment, worth £800, belongs to Russ Bradley, who holds 10 world records, and has been crowned Britain's strongest man four times.

The unique items, including a steel silver pyramid shaped block with a handle weighing 480lb, and two steel suitcases weighing 264lb each, were stolen from a roped-off area outside the Farmers Arms Pub, in Kempsey, Worcester, between noon on Tuesday and noon yesterday.

"To members of the public, it might not look like anything, but to the 10 to 15 athletes who train on it, it is priceless," said 19.5 stone Mr Bradley.

"Athletes the length and breadth of the country come to train on it - it was the best equipment in the country.

Mr Bradley explained the equipment would be useless to the general public, and was probably stolen for someone's personal gym.

The equipment has taken 15 years to collect, and was currently in use by athletes training for Britain's Strongest Man competition in May.

Mr Bradley said he had raised thousands of pounds for charity with the equipment at exhibitions, and that would now stop.

"We're very offended that someone has taken this equipment," said the 6ft 3in builder.

A spokesman for Worcester Police said they were investigating, and believed the equipment, must have been loaded on to a flatbed lorry or van by two to four people because of the vast weight.

"This equipment weighed nearly a metric ton and would have needed more than one person to lift it on to a lorry or van," he said.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact Worcester Police on 08457 444888.