Belgian minister has bike stolen on way to event announcing new money for cycling

Ben Weyts hopes police will be able to find the bicycle using CCTV

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The Independent Online

A Belgian transport minister had his bike stolen outside an event he used to announce investment in cycling lanes

Ben Weyts, a regional minister for Dutch-speaking Flanders, locked his bicycle to a rack at Halle railway station in the south of Brussels after cycling there to launch the new scheme. 

But when he returned half an hour later he found it had been stolen, a spokesman said. 

Mr Weyts said he now hopes police will be able to identify the thief using CCTV footage.

The local force is stepping up patrols and increasing camera surveillance in the station, BBC News reported

At the news conference, Mr Weyts, dressed in a pair of cycling shorts, announced a plan to invest €300m (£254m) in cycle lanes until 2019.

The move is part of a bid to encourage alternative modes of transport as Belgium has some of the worst road traffic in Europe

The embarrassing incident echoes a similar theft in 2008 when then leader of the opposition David Cameron had his bike stolen outside a supermarket near his home in London. 

The “priceless” bike was eventually returned to him – only for it to be stolen again less than a year later. 

Mr Cameron was criticised by experienced cyclists for tying his bike to a three-foot bollard – making it easy to remove. 

The incident came at a time when he was attempting to rebrand the Conservatives as a modern, environmentally-conscious party.  

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