THIEVES who vandalised a mobility scooter belonging to a young woman suffering from a rare medical condition have been branded ‘shameful’ and ‘despicable’.
West Dorset residents – including actor Martin Clunes - turned out in force last year to fundraise for a mobility scooter to help Victoria Crow, 20, get around.
But the scooter was stolen this week as Victoria was visiting friends in Bridport.
The vehicle was found and returned, but it had been vandalised.
Now, police are urging the culprits to ‘do the right thing’ and turn themselves in.
Victoria said she lost her independence when the scooter was stolen.
She said: “If the buggy had not been recovered it would have severely affected me and my family.
“If I had tried to walk home that night, it could have proven fatal for me as I can only safely walk no more about 50 feet.
“If I or any other vulnerable person hadn’t the opportunity to rely on friends to help, the outcome could have been a lot different.”
Victoria was diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari malformation when she was 16.
The condition means she is unable to walk far and occasionally blacks out.
She said she was leaving a friend’s house after having a cup of tea when she found the scooter had been taken.
“I was in a bit of a panic because I couldn’t go anywhere.
“I use it every day because I can’t walk far without making myself ill.”
Victoria’s mum received a Facebook message the following day from a friend who found the scooter outside a shop on Victoria Grove.
PC Scott McGregor, who joined scores of others on the fundraising walk in February last year, said: “I think this is a despicable act and whoever did this needs to be held accountable.
“It shows how one innocuous act can have a potentially life changing effect for a number of people.”
The scooter was stolen from outside a property in Victoria Grove on the evening of Saturday, June 7.
PC McGregor added: “In the year that followed the fundraising walk, Victoria was able to have a significantly improved quality of life.
“We would like to appeal to the person responsible for this to come forward.”
Colleague PC James Mullin added: “This is a shameful act and Victoria was stranded at the address, if it was not for the help of a friend who assisted her getting home it could have been a lot worse.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Dorset Police 101 quoting crime number 22915 or ring crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.