Police are investigating after a four-time world champion had specially created Commonwealth Games bowls stolen from a clubhouse in Ayrshire.

A thief has taken three of Paul Foster's set of four limited edition woods that he has been training with in readiness for Glasgow 2014 in just a fortnight's time.

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The bowls were taken from the clubhouse at his local Troon Portland Club sometime on Monday. The remaining one was removed from his bag and left behind in the club locker room.

"This is obviously devastating to me and I spent the whole of last night thinking about who it could be, but I've got no idea. It is certainly not the news I was looking for," said Mr Foster, a key member of the 10-strong Scottish bowls team and a gold medallist at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

"Taking three bowls is no use to them, and having one is obviously no use to me," he added.

Mr Foster, the 41-year-old, four-time winner of the men's singles in the World Indoor Bowls Championship, has been playing and practising with the bowls since spring, in readiness for his part in the host nation's team pairs and fours in the Commonwealth Games.

The missing bowls are Henselite-made Tiger Bowls Size 4, with a royal blue wood with white speckles, and featuring an engraving using white paint of Kelvingrove Art Galleries, which provide the backdrop for the Games bowls tournament.

No two sets of bowls are identical and Mr Foster had amassed countless hours with the missing bowls in preparation for the Games. Now he has appealed to those responsible to return the set.

He said: "These bowls were specially shipped over in April for me to use at the Commonwealth Games and I've been practising with them for the last three months, day-in day-out, to get completely used to them and ready for Glasgow.

"I'm now trying to get another set of the same make and model but even if I do, I know that you won't ever get two sets of bowls that are 100% the same.

"But with the Commonwealth Games starting in a fortnight's time I need to try and get over it in the next few days and get focused again. But it's easier said than done.

"I just want to get the bowls back. Even if someone just comes along and just leaves the bowls at the club without anybody knowing I wouldn't take it any further because I would just be so pleased to get them back."

Detective Inspector Fergus Hutcheson of Police Scotland said: "The motive for this crime remains unknown.

"The lawn bowls are distinctive and unique and the bag they were in is also fairly distinctive and I am appealing to anyone who was at the club on Monday, who may have noticed anything suspicious or unusual, please do contact us as a matter of urgency.

"It's imperative these items are traced and returned and any information, no matter how insignificant, could assist the investigation of this crime."

Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Ayr Police Office on the non-emergency number, 101. Alternatively, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where you can give information anonymously.