British cyclist Mark Cavendish has asked the public for help after being robbed at knifepoint in front of his family when thugs broke into his home, stealing luxury goods just days after the star returned from intensive care.
UK police have described the incident as “undoubtedly” targeted in the early hours of November 27 at the 36-year-old’s house in Essex.
In addition to attacking the Rio 2016 silver medalist, the four thieves threatened his wife and children, who Cavendish says “feared for their lives” and are now “struggling with the after-effects”.
Cavendish had recently returned from hospital, where he had spent time in intensive care after suffering injuries including a collapsed lung and two broken ribs at the Ghent Six Day track event.
A Louis Vuitton suitcase and a pair of expensive watches were among the luxury items stolen in the heist.
“As I’m sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed – not just myself and Peta but our children as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects,” said Cavendish in a statement.
“No one should have to experience the sort of violence and threats made against us, let alone this happening in a family home – a place where everyone should feel safe.
“The items taken are simply material goods and our priority at the moment is to make sure we all recover from the incident as a family, and we know this is likely to take some time.”
— Peta Cavendish (@petatodd) December 8, 2021
Cavendish begged members of the public with information that could help police to come forward.
Echoing her husband’s words, Peta Cavendish released a similar message on social media.
“The effect that this nightmare has had on our family is already heart-breakingly evident,” she said.
“Four masked and armed men forced their way into our home as we slept. They threatened myself and our children and violently attacked Mark. At knifepoint, they proceeded to ransack our belongings.”
Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, the case’s senior investigating officer, said: “Mr Cavendish and his wife were assaulted and threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children, who witnessed these events.
“Thankfully they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long-standing.
“It is likely the people who stole these items are attempting to offload them for sizeable sums of money and I would urge anyone who is being offered these items to please get in touch with us – they are stolen property.”
Police have released CCTV images of the robbery and photographs of the items.