A RARE vintage army motorbike has been stolen — for the second time.

Now owner Patrick McGrath, from Halliwell, is appealing for anyone who spots the rare bike to contact the police.

The thieves struck sometime between 3am and 10.30am on Thursday when they managed to free the machine which was chained to the wall at his home. The bike is an Armstrong MT500 built by Armstrong-CCC M Motorcycles in Bolton in 1986.

Mr McGrath, aged 22, bought the bike 18 months ago from a man in Westhoughton who had owned it for 10 years.

The bike was first stolen last summer when it was discovered abandoned in a bush.

About the latest theft, Mr McGrath said: “I got up in the night to go to the toilet and looked out and it was there, then later I had a knock at the door and it was gone.

“It is a well looked after bike and I have only just repainted it.

“I can’t believe it is the second time it has been stolen. It is a very rare bike — it should probably be in a museum.

“There are not many in the country and it is distinctive, so if whoever has stolen it tries to sell it I hope people recognise it.

“But it could be that someone has taken it and just driven it round a field and dumped it, so I would ask people to keep an eye out, and if they see it contact the police.”

He believes the bike is worth about £900 and was used by the Army until 1992. Mr McGrath believes it was used in Iraq.

Police enquiries in the area are ongoing.