A national disability charity has issued a warning to disabled people across the country to take steps to protect expensive mobility equipment after several thefts have made the headlines.
The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF), points out that mobility equipment is expensive, with a top-of-the-range lightweight wheelchair costing in the region of £2,000 and mobility scooters for road use costing on average £3,000- £5,000, with some up to £8,000.
Chris Shaw, DLF chief executive, said: "Mobility equipment all too often requires a huge investment. Unfortunately unscrupulous individuals will seize the opportunity to take anything of value and an unsecured wheelchair or scooter is no exception.
"Stolen wheelchairs and scooters often make the headlines. Not only are the thieves taking a valuable item of equipment, but they are also taking away the independence of the person. Often there is no other way of getting around.
"Heavier motorised scooters are more difficult to bring indoors and so, where possible, we advise owners to invest in a lock-up shed to improve security. Above all, insurance should be taken out for valuable mobility aids and there are a number of companies specialising in such cover.
"We recommend that older and disabled people and their carers take a few simple steps to improve the security of their wheelchairs and scooters to prevent or at least deter any would-be-thief and protect themselves from a loss which can have a huge impact on the quality of their life."
Ms Shaw issued the warning following a news today that a disabled student from Hampshire had his motorised chair stolen from outside his sister's house in Portsmouth. John Febvre, 18, from Waterlooville, who has cerebral palsy, said: "I need the wheelchair because that's how I get to college." He cannot afford to replace the chair, which was uninsured.
DLF offers advice on security products and suitable insurance schemes. For more information call the DLF Helpline on 0845 130 9177, Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Newswire, 21st May 2009