THE family of a Wordsley schoolboy whose brand new mountain bike was stolen from inside the school gates have thanked kind-hearted members of the public for clubbing together to buy him a replacement bike.

Brook Primary School pupil Rhys Wooldridge was left "heartbroken" after the bright orange Carrera Vengeance that he had bought with his birthday and Christmas money was snatched from inside the school gates at around 10.45am on February 24.

His great grandmother Carole Fereday, aged 76, hit out at the offender, described as a bearded man in his 50s, and described the theft as "mean and despicable".

Horrified at how the incident had affected Rhys and his family - big-hearted Stourbridge residents, who had heard about the schoolboy's plight on Facebook, immediately launched an online fundraising appeal to raise money to buy the 11-year-old a new bike.

Keen mountain biker Tom Payne from Stourbridge started the appeal and £350 was raised in less than 12 hours.

A replica bike was then purchased from Halfords, with a few accessories thrown in courtesy of the retailer, and handed over to Rhys's family who then presented the surprise gift to an overwhelmed Rhys last week.

Tom said: "I felt like we see so much bad in the news that it would be good to lift the community and do something good to show we can work together.

"It was great to see the pic of him happy again and let him realise we still live in a partially nice society. I'm chuffed he can get to school again on his new bike."

Rhys's mum Natalie Jones said the schoolboy was "absolutely over the moon" to receive the new bike and he "couldn't quite believe it was for him".

She added: "After the hard work to save up the money himself, it was a hard lesson for him to learn about the world but the community spirit displayed is amazing and has shown him that the good out number the bad."

She said the family couldn't thank all those who donated enough.

Anyone with information about the theft of Rhys's original bike can contact police, quoting crime reference number 20DY/50441K/20, via Live Chat at between 8am and midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.