At least five children’s bikes were taken from their homes over Saturday and Sunday, and the thieves appear to have dumped them in the Ettrick river.
Kirsty Baessler’s 14-year-old daughter Emma Mackenzie had her bike taken from a pal’s garden, which was later spotted in the river.
Kirsty said: “Emma was absolutely devastated and really, really angry.
“We’ve had an extremely difficult start to this year, with myself and husband breaking up in January and my dad dying suddenly in February.
“To have her bike stolen from a friend’s garden was the last thing we needed.
“I am still beyond angry at it all ... these poor kids have had to adjust so much over the past few months.
“Their bikes are what they use for their daily exercise, then for people to come and take them for their own kicks is an abomination. The worst part is they probably won’t even be sorry.”
Jane-Marie Ormiston told us her son’s bike was one of those taken.
She told us: “The fundraiser is a great idea, and it’s wonderful to do this for the kids.”
The heartless crime has shocked many in the town, with one Souter, Kim Shepherd, launching the fundraiser on the Crowdfunder website so that the kids can get new wheels.
Kim was so incensed by the crime, she has issued a plea to show the children “they live in a town of kind-heartedness, community spirit, generosity and togetherness”.
She said: “Times at the moment are uncertain, unprecedented, and challenging financially.
“To have anything stolen is shocking, but for someone to steal a child’s bike and dump it in a river is disgusting.
“Five bikes that we know of have been stolen and ruined.
“I have been in touch with the parents, who rightly so are devastated, as are the children.
“These five kids did not deserve to have their property stolen from their homes.
“Having a bike allows children to get exercise, play, explore and find some enjoyment during anytime of the year, never mind during a worldwide pandemic. Going out for a cycle is one of the few things kids can do right now.
“We as parents only want the best for our children, and having to explain to them their belongings have been stolen is devastating.
“So instead of kids believing they live in a community of thieves and low-lives, why not show them they live in a town of kind-heartedness, community spirit, generosity and togetherness?”
The fundraiser has so far reached £175 of a £1,000 target, needed to buy each child a new bike, and a bike lock in the hope that this doesn’t happen to them again.