Wheelchair thieves leave man housebound

NICKI WALKER

April 7, 2003 12:48

A disabled man has been left housebound after thieves stole his electric wheelchair and dumped it in a river.

The 41-year-old man from March, who does not want to be named, has been paralysed down his left-hand side following a bleed on his brain five-years ago.

The £2,500 wheelchair was bought for him by his 21-year-old son who is currently serving in Iraq.

The victim said the wheelchair gave him independence and was specially adapted to his needs.

But it was stolen last week from a friend's home in Newlands Avenue, March, and was later found dumped in the River Nene.

The man said now his life has been "grounded" and he is only able to get out of his home with the help of his wife who has to now push him everywhere in his other basic wheelchair.

The man, said: "Now all I can do is sit indoors, and if I want to go out, I have to rely on other people. The electronic wheelchair gave me the freedom to go where I want and when I wanted to, I even went fishing in it.

"I'd had it for 18 months and it gave me freedom.

"But not only was it was vital for me, it also had sentimental value as it was bought for me by my son who is now serving in Basra in Iraq."

He went on: "I just can't see why anyone would do this, it's senseless, it was not of use to anybody. I just don't know what to say, I'm disgusted that this has happened.

"It's disgusting this would not have been worth anything to anyone else, but someone has taken this just for fun. But it is devastating for me."

The wheelchair was not available on the NHS and the man said he does not have the funds to replace it. Which means he now has to rely on others to take him places and he said it is just an added worry on top of the fears he has for his son who is with the UK 1st Armed Division.

Police are investigating the incident, which happened between 8.30pm and 9pm on April 4.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the crime management unit at March on 01354 652561.



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