A 70-year-old bicycle used to promote a family butcher has been stolen from outside the shop.

A customer at Church’s butchers in High Street, Epping, spotted a man wheeling the bicycle away in broad daylight and alerted the owners.

Church’s owner Paul Parker, 62, who bought the bike 20 years ago, immediately went in search of the iconic item with his colleagues, but couldn’t track down the culprit.

“I couldn’t believe it. People will take anything,” he said.

The black bicycle, believed to be worth between £300 and £600, was taken at around 2:15pm.

It has a basket at the front and carries the name of the shop on a plate in the frame.

Shop Manager John cousins said: “The customers were horrified. They couldn’t believe someone would take the bike.”

Mr Parker added: “Whoever took it would have a tough job, the front tyre was completely flat.”

The butcher takes its name from Mr Parker’s late business partner, who died earlier this year.

The thief is described as aged 20 to 25 and about 6ft. He has long blond hair, shaved at the sides, and was wearing a red top and jeans.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the bike, which was stolen on August 22, call Essex Police 101.