Van theft threat to Par­a­lympic dream

Stockport Express - - Front Page - ALEX SCAPENS alex.scapens@men­ @AlexS­capen­sMEN

ASNOWBOARDER’S dream of com­pet­ing at next year’s Par­a­lympics is un­der threat af­ter thieves stole all his equip­ment.

James Barnes-Miller, 28, of Dis­ley, is set to rep­re­sent Team GB in South Korea in March next year.

But thieves broke into his Volk­swa­gen van out­side his home on Hey­bank Road in the early hours of Sun­day and he now has no rac­ing boards and very lit­tle equip­ment.

He has set up a crowd­fund­ing site to help re­place the items so he can take part in the snowboarding World Cup races nec­es­sary to con­firm his place at the Par­a­lympics.

James, who was born with­out a right hand, said: “The first World Cup race is in two weeks so it is not ideal. It has a mas­sive knock on ef­fect, I will also have a few months to get used to new equip­ment. At the mo­ment I’m try­ing to beg, bor­row and steal things.

“I don’t know why they did it, it is team GB stuff so they can’t just sell it. If some­one is seen wear­ing it and they aren’t in the team ques­tions will get asked.

“Go­ing to the Par­a­lympics would be an hon­our and some­thing I never thought I’d do. We would be the first team from Bri­tain to com­pete at snowboarding, which would be a priv­i­lege.”

The break-in - in which a rear win­dow of the cam­ou­flage de­sign van was popped out - hap­pened be­tween mid­night and 5am.

James had two cus­tomised boards stolen, a black and white Apex and a black Oxess, as well as gloves, gog­gles, ther­mals, boots a hel­met and climb­ing equip­ment.

Another board - a wood coloured Nitro Wood­cut­ter be­long­ing to his coach - was also taken.

James, a for­mer builder, moved to Dis­ley from Kent with his girl­friend Aoife Roberts ear­lier this year so he could train at the Chill Fac­tore in Traf­ford.

He is hop­ing to com­pete in the bor­der cross and bank slalom events.

Dur­ing last year’s World Cup sea­son he did enough to be se­lected for Team GB pro­vided he can main­tain his per­for­mances this sea­son.

James only took up snowboarding seven years ago but had been a skate­boarder as a child.

He said: “I didn’t pick snowboarding up straight away but I fell in love with it. And if you love some­thing it be­comes eas­ier to pick it up.”

Po­lice have con­firmed of­fi­cers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the theft. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can call 101 or Crimestop­pers anony­mously.

To help James re­place his equip­ment visit

●●Par­a­lympic snowboarding hope­ful James Barnes-Miller

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