A TEENAGER who turned her troubled young life around through cycling has had her cherished £1,200 bike stolen.
Ambitious Jasmine Houston is aiming for the very top in the world of BMX biking.
The 15-year-old says she wants to go all the way to the world championships and Olympics.
It’s an amazingly positive attitude her parents – Michelle and Stephen Houston, of Thornycroft Place, Chorley – thought they may never see.
Not long ago, Jasmine, a pupil of Southlands High School, was self-harming.
Mum Michelle, 37, said her daughter was having problems after ‘getting in with the wrong crowd.’
On one occasion, a year-and-a-half ago, a police search was launched for Jasmine when she went missing.
She had taken off in the middle of the night and was found at four in the morning halfway to Preston.
But she stunned her mum and dad by suddenly taking up BMX riding – joining the Coppull-based Mid Lancs BMX Club completely out of the blue.
Her bike, a cutomised Redline Pro XXL, together with one worth £600 belonging to her 41-year-old dad, was stolen from the family home last week.
The thefts have been reported to police.
“Going to BMX turned her life around, “ said Michelle.
“She had been having trouble at school with people she was hanging around with.
“She had got in with a bad crowd.
“But she got into BMX herself – we didn’t know anything about it.
“She was disappearing off. She said ‘I’m going up to the BMX track’.
“I just thought it was something of a lark keeping her busy.
“She was cycling there on her own every weekend.
“Lots of other people noticed how much effort she was putting in.
“We saved up and got her the bike.
“We had it customised. She’s quite tall.”
Michelle said Jasmine’s reaction to the theft had been “quite mature” but that she was “in tears” the other day after being told about it.
“But she’s had quite a lot of support form the Mid Lancs BMX Club,” said Michelle.
“Unfortunately they’ve had quite a few thefts up there so they can appreciate what she’s going through.”
The incident has come at a difficult time for the family as Michelle, a student nurse at Royal Blackburn Infirmary, is having to take time off work to look after Stephen, who is suffering from kidney failure.
He has had to give up his job as a sales manager in Manchester and is on long term sick leave.
“Jasmine’s bike was not insured,” revealed Michelle.
“We can’t afford to buy another one.”
For the moment, it is hoped Jasmine can borrow a bike from the Coppull club.
The teenager said of her stolen bike: “I’m really missing it.
“I’d had it for a month. It was all custom made.
“I’m probably going to have to borrow a club bike.”
She explained how she got into BMX-ing.
“I started going with my friends. I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but then I became really into it and really enjoy it.”
Jasmine said she had planned a route to the top – taking in the national and world championships and Olympics!
“That will be good,” she said.
Any her thoughts about the callous thief?
“There’s some really stupid people in the world,” she said.
If anyone has any information about the thefts, they can ring Chorley Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 800 555 111