THE owner of a pair of running shoes signed by Usain Bolt and stolen during a burglary in Croydon is "overwhelmed" that the world's fastest man has offered to replace them. The trainers were among around £40,000 worth of items stolen when burglars broke into RNR Fabrications, in Gloucester Road, Croydon, late last month. James Varney, co-owner of the business and a collector of sports memorabilia, bought them at a charity auction held at Ascot racecourse several years ago. The orange Puma running shoes were signed by Bolt after he broke his own 100 metre world record in 2009 and have been valued at around £20,000. They were on display in his office before being stolen during a break-in between April 26 and April 28. After police appealed for information about the burglary, Bolt took to Twitter to ask for the shoes to be returned. He tweeted: "I know u love me..but please why u had to go stealing that signed Usain Bolt spikes in Croydon, England...I know u going to return it. Right? "All you had to do was just ask me for one. No need to go stealing the ppl things..Come on now." He later posted a picture of himself signing another pair of running shoes and pledged to "FedEx them straight to London". Mr Varney, 32, told the Advertiser: "I'm absolutely overwhelmed that Usain Bolt has come out and said he is going to replace them. I would never have anticipated that. "I never thought I would see a pair again. If I got a new pair they certainly wouldn't be in the office. They would be somewhere safe. "They were only there because my wife didn't like them up in the house." Mr Varney, from Bromley, has been collecting sports memorabilia for seven years. "It's something I've always liked," he said. "My brother has always done it. He has shirts signed by Ronaldo and Beckham. "I collect golf bits, I've got Formula 1 memorabilia but the shoes were the best bit. They were my personal favourite." Among other items taken during the raid was Mr Varney's personal laptop, which contained photographs of his daughter. He said: "The laptop's what I really care about because of the pictures. I don't have them anywhere else. "If it was the choice between to two I would rather have my laptop back because it carries more sentimental value than a signed pair of boots. "That's not to say I didn't love the boots, because I did. It's just that she's my daughter and I would always put her first." Police have appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area, who knows where the trainers are, or has been offered them to buy, to call Detective Constable Sheree Yates at Croydon CID on 020 3276 2287 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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