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Charity hits out at mugging of driver in Lyme Regis
CHARITY leaders have appealed for support after one of its volunteers was robbed of a week’s takings.
The Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride Service lost a week of fares when its volunteer driver was mugged for £75 in Bridport town centre.
Now they have hit out at the robbers but also called for help and donations to keep the £52,000-a-year service on the road.
Chairman Sandra Ward said: “It’s despicable.
“It was a terrible thing to rough up a driver to steal £75 of hard earned and very sorely needed money from a charity. The money means hell of a lot to us.
“It costs about £52,000 to run the service and we are already cut back to the bone as it is.
“It’s a dreadful loss to a small charity and a sad reflection on society and Bridport.”
Charity treasurer Stan Williams, of Whalley Lane, Uplyme, this week revealed that it was their driver who was mugged.
Mr Williams said the charity was not insured to cover such losses by robbery.
He said: “Our drivers are fabulous. I was not happy at all and very disappointed when one was mugged.”
The 65-year-old driver, from Axminster, was left unhurt but shaken up in the robbery.
Recognising the importance of the service to people in Lyme Regis, the town council this year awarded the charity £1,200 from its annual grants fund.
Mrs Ward said: “We would appreciate any help people can give as we are very small charity.”
The elderly and people with disabilities – including those with hearing or sight loss – can call the service for transport to go shopping or use local services.
Many people who can no longer drive, carry bags or reach the bus stop are helped by the charity from Bere Regis to Lyme Regis as well as east Devon.
The Honiton-based charity has two volunteer drivers who can pick up people and their wheelchairs, walking frames and aids.
One of the drivers was put up against a wall in South Street as he made his way to bank about a week’s worth of fares on Wednesday, September 26.
Adding her views, Barbara Vousden, chairman of Age Concern in Bridport, branded the robbery as despicable.
She said: “It is a shame to target people of that age. They are so vulnerable and the trouble is with a lot of elderly people they try to put up a bit of a fight, which is automatic.
“But I think they are despicable, these people who do these things.”
Police have stressed that such cases are rare in Bridport and have appealed for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.
It happened just before 10.30am in South Street near Morrisons.
The robber was described as 6ft tall, of slim build with dark hair and about 22 years old.
He was wearing blue jeans and a dark coat and ran towards South Mill Lane. Weymouth CID Detective Constable Simon Beare is the officer in the case. Call the non-emergency number 101 with information, quoting incident number 124 of September 26.
To help the Ring and Ride or to find out more about how to use its services call 01404 46520 or write to Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring and Ride, Parish Office, St Paul’s Church, Honiton, EX14 1PE.