Britain's leading downhill cyclist and former BMX racing double world champion has had ten of his specially-made bikes stolen.

The haul - worth £18,000 - was taken from a lock-up garage at Scott Beaumont's home in Droitwich, Worcestershire, earlier this week.

The 27-year-old, who won the BMX titles in 1995 and 1996 and is one of the world's leading mountain bike riders, now faces trying to find a new machine for the rest of the season.

He said the break-in appeared to be by professionals.

"They knew what they were doing," he said. "We're looking for someone who was driving a large van to get away with the bikes in the back." Bike shops, web sites and other forums for enthusiasts have been alerted. The bikes' distinctive appearance could help in their recovery.

"They're all made by Kona. The downhill specific bikes are heavy duty with lots of suspension on the front forks and carbon fibre on the brake levers," he said.

"If you're offered one of these quite obviously high-quality bikes, just get in touch with the police."

In all, eight specialist downhill mountain bikes, one BMX bike, a road bike, a mountain bike frame and ten sets of wheels and tyres were taken.

The most expensive is worth about £5,000. The BMX on which he won the world championships was not stolen.