Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 11:18 UK

Cameron's bike stolen as he shops

David Cameron joked the theft had been like losing 'an old friend'

Conservative leader David Cameron says his bicycle was stolen after he left it locked outside a supermarket while he shopped near his home in west London.

He was at a Tesco branch on Portobello Road when the bike - which he joked was "an old friend" - disappeared.

"Someone must have picked it up and walked off with it," he said.

"If anyone has seen this bicycle, I would like it back," he added. "I've reported it online... but I'm not holding my breath."

Mr Cameron said he had been "picking up a few bits of salad" when the theft occurred at about 1800 BST on Wednesday.

His spokeswoman added the Tory leader was "annoyed" and "pretty hacked off" at what had happened.

High-profile bicycle

Tom Bogdanovich of the London Cycling Campaign said he hoped the theft would not discourage Mr Cameron from using his bike.

The case highlighted the need for a greater number of secure cycle stands in London, he added.

Mr Cameron and his bike have had a high profile since he became Conservative leader nearly three years ago.

His entire journey by bike to the House of Commons after becoming leader was broadcast live, filmed from above by news helicopters.

David Cameron
Asked about the value of the bike, Mr Cameron said to him it was 'priceless'

His bicycle was back in the news the next year as he faced Labour attacks on his green credentials after it was revealed that an official car followed him carrying his briefcase.

And in March Mr Cameron apologised after the Daily Mirror photographed him on his bike ignoring red lights and cycling the wrong way up a one-way street.

A spokesman for Tesco said: "We are very sorry that David's bike was stolen from outside our store.

"David's setting a great example to everyone by using his bike to get around so we'll make a donation to bicycling charity Sustrans that might help ease his loss."

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