A soldier who used a bonus earned during his time serving on the frontline to buy his dream motorbike is heartbroken after it was snatched by callous thieves.
Corporal Jonny Ball dreamt of purchasing his treasured Harley-Davidson during his time in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 under Operation Herrick 15.
He was awoken in the early hours of Thursday morning to the sound of his distinctive matt black Sportster Iron 883 bike’s alarm and reached his window in time to see the crooks making off with the vehicle in the back of a white Ford Transit van.
“For me my bike was something I dreamed of during my Afghan tour,” said Jonny, who was awarded a Commander Land Forces Commendation for his Afghan service. “It symbolises that part of my life and I have an emotional connection to it.
“The bike has really helped, just being able to get on it and get out there. I’m absolutely gutted and disgusted that people out there will steal people’s possessions like that.
“I feel numb and sick.”
At the time of the theft - at around 3.30am - the bike had been left in an undercover car park, with two locks attached, an immobiliser and an alarm.
Jonny, 35, was awarded a £5,500 bonus by the Armed Forces for his time in war-torn Afghanistan and he spent £5,000 of that money on his cherished bike after completing a fast-track motorcycle course.
“This bike means more to me than just two wheels,” said Jonny, who lives in Vicarage Hill, Flitwick, with his girlfriend.
“It has really emotionally got to me because of the connection I have to it.
“It was something I dreamed about throughout my tour and I finally got that dream bike and a couple of years later someone has taken that dream away.”
Army reservist Jonny, who believes a gang of men must have been involved in the theft to load the weighty bike onto the van, is offering a reward of £500 for information leading to the recovery of his bike and the prosecution of the culprits.
He also used his motorbike for voluntary work with the Royal British Legion’s Riders Branch - The Beds Clangers - whose members have been out and about collecting for the Poppy Appeal.
Anyone with information about the theft can call Beds Police via the non-emergency number, 101.