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Bikes worth hundreds of pounds that have been stolen or abandoned in the street have been donated by police to a project to help rough sleepers.

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More than 50 bikes were given to the Recycle project run by the Salvation Army in Clements Road, Ilford which will be fixed up during their workshops.

The sessions are held twice a week and aim to train rough sleepers in a skill to help them get back into the job market.

Police say they have exhausted all lines of investigation to find out who the bikes belong to.

Keith Young, workshop supervisor for the project, said: “It’s very rewarding. Some of them are learning how to mend bikes which gives them a purpose and they learn a skill from it which hopefully will set them on the right path to getting employment and rebuilding their lives.”

The project previously used bikes which had been sent to the dump but Mr Young said this latest batch had improved the quality of their stock.

A few of the bikes they have been given by the police would have been worth hundreds of pounds new.

“Some of the bikes were found in the street and some have been stolen and their owner was not located,” he said. “We are very grateful to have them.

“They are of a significant quality than we have had previously.”

The vast majority of the bikes are in need of repair and maintenance which is where the workshops, run twice a week, come in.

Twice a month the project holds a bike sale with the money being put back into the project.

Mr Young added: “We are always hoping to get more bikes donated but this latest batch will keep us going for quite some time.”

So far, about 12 rough sleepers attend the sessions and the bikes are sold for between £65-100.

The next bike sale will be on Saturday from 10am-2pm at Unit 11, Thompson Close, Ilford.

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