MOTORBIKES belonging to a group of German women were stolen within hours of their arrival in the Capital to kick-off a tour of Scotland.
The ten middle-aged enthusiasts, members of a Hamburg-based motorbike club called “Kazenoko”, had parked their vehicles outside the Herald House Hotel in Grove Street after checking in on Wednesday night.
But the group awoke yesterday morning to set off for Aviemore to find three of the beloved bikes had been stolen from the Fountainbridge street, wrecking their holiday plans.
One of the bikes was found burnt out in Davidson’s Mains early this morning. Police inquiries are continuing.
The thieves targeted three Honda XRV 750s – worth about £2000 each – but left behind others, including BMWs, Kawasakis, Suzukis and a Harley Davidson.
The three women whose bikes were stolen last night managed to salvage the trip by hiring a car to drive round the Highlands while their compatriots continued on two wheels.
Police had thought the bikes might have been loaded into a van rather than “hot-wired”.
Elke Peters, 53, who works for computer giant IBM, Dorit Schueler, 43, a bank worker, and Claudia Vogeosamg, 49, a nursery worker, were devastated after they woke yesterday.
Ms Peters said: “We had come from Hamburg to the Netherlands and took the ferry over to Newcastle on Tuesday. We had just come up to Edinburgh to start a week-long tour of Scotland, but the parking at the hotel was full so we left our bikes in the street.
“We were really upset to find they had gone, especially on our first night here. Our insurance companies in Germany won’t pay for replacement motorbikes so we are getting a hire car to take the three of us. It won’t be the same as riding on our bikes but at least we will get to see some of Scotland.”
Ms Schueler said: “We have all had our bikes more than ten years so they are almost part of our families.
“Our club is all women and we love motorbikes. We go travelling together and away on tours. We always wanted to come to Scotland because of the beautiful countryside, lovely castles and so much history. It’s a trip we were very much looking forward to.”
The women are returning to the Capital on Wednesday and hope police can track down the other bikes before they leave for Germany. The stolen Honda XRV 750s are described by police as “large powerful machines” with storage boxes on the back. One of the bikes is black and white, one is black and silver, and the other is blue and white. Pc Stewart Pringle, from Oxgangs police station, said: “The bikes were last seen at around 11.30pm on Wednesday and had gone when the group returned at 7.30am yesterday.
“We are examining CCTV from the area and would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious in Grove Street during those hours to come forward.”