A DISABLED man whose mobility scooter was stolen after he dropped into a cafe for a cuppa has condemned the thieves for targeting the disabled.
Steve Smith’s vehicle was taken by thieves when he visited the Tasty Bites cafe on Effingham Square in the town centre.
Earlier this month, the Advertiser highlighted the story of Sharon Ashworth of Rawmarsh who had two scooters taken from her home within weeks of each other and said she had heard of several other theft.
Now Mr Smith (36), of Rolls Crescent in Rawmarsh, has revealed how his own vital mode of transport had been swiped.
He said he had parked his Pride XL8 scooter outside the Cash Converters shop next door to Tasty Bites as there were tables outside the cafe.
It was snatched between 4pm and 4.30pm on Monday, November 6, when Mr Smith said plenty of people would have been about.
Angry Mr Smith (pictured) said: “I had had it for two years. I bought it after a Gumtree ad and it cost £400.
“Then I had to buy a battery which cost another £200.”
Mr Smith, who has severe mobility problems, said he was furious that the scooter had been stolen as it left him without a means of getting out and about.
“There is one thing pinching food if you are starving but it’s another thing stealing off a disabled person,” he said.
“I think the police should be doing more about it.
“It’s disabled people who are suffering.”
As with the case of Mrs Ashworth, the big-hearted management of scooter firm Parkgate Mobility stepped in to give Mr Smith a new mobility scooter.
Mr Smith said he was now more careful when leaving his mobility scooter unattended.
“I am very nervous about leaving it anywhere,” he said.
“If I go into a shop I always leave it in view.”
South Yorkshire Police said its enquiries into the theft last November were ongoing and anyone with information should report it via 101 quoting reference number C/146505/2017.
Det Chief Insp Lee Berry said: “I understand theft of any kind causes distress to victims and I would like to offer my reassurance that we will always work to establish possible lines of inquiry to identify those responsible.
“I would also encourage owners of scooters to ensure they are kept in locked and secure locations when left unattended, personal items are not left on scooters, and to report all thefts to us so we can work together to reduce this type of criminality.
“If you have been a victim of crime, or would like to report any concerns, please speak to a local officer or report it via either 101, or 999 in an emergency.”