POLICE were hit by a wave of criticism after leaping to investigate the theft of Timmy Mallett's bicycle.

The entertainer took to Twitter on Saturday and shared a picture of his bike that was stolen the previous night.

Mallett, famed for hosting children's programmes like Wacaday, was drinking with friends in the Kings Arms in Cookham, Berkshire, when the bike was taken from a locked-up area in the pub's car park.

Steeped in sentimental value, the eccentric star recently cycled across 'half of Europe' on the E-bike which he nicknamed 'Martin' after his late brother.

Thames Valley Police responded to the 62-year-old's tweet, a move that saw them facing flack from a public accusing them of favouring celebrities.

The force said "Hi Timmy, we're on the case" before urging any members of the public with information to come forward.

But most people only had criticism.

One commenter said: "A pity you guys didn't take quite the same level of interest when one of my staff reported being threatened & followed at 11pm in a quiet road by a stranger in a car and had to hide behind a bush. She even had the address for the man. Still, good luck finding Timmy's bike."

Oxford resident Brian Brown tweeted: "I found a bike once that had clearly been stolen and dumped. I took it to the police station, whereupon they went ballistic at me and told me to phone the council refuse team next time. Bike theft rates at level "not interested" in their world."

Another said: "My bike was stolen from Maidenhead train station - you guys were most definitely not 'on the case' then."

Some commenters simply supported Mallett. Yesterday the New Theatre tweeted: "People of Oxford: Can we help Timmy be reunited with his bike? Today would have been his brother Martin's birthday, so it would be lovely if the public could help get a positive outcome on this."