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10 July 2013, 10:26
Police are trying to trace a group of teenagers who verbally abused and robbed a disabled woman on a mobility scooter as she travelled home through Bedford.
The woman, 45, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has only recently come out of hospital, had been for a medical appointment when she was followed home from Bedford Park.
The abuse took place over a 40 minute period from 5.10pm on Wednesday 3 July 2013.
In the time it took her to get home to Brickhill on her scooter, the group of five teenagers followed her all the way, constantly shouting abuse at her and in particular repeating the phrase “spastic on a scooter”.
When the woman got to her front door, there was no respite as when she went to get off her scooter they ran up behind her and pulled the basket from the front of the scooter, containing her handbag.
The khaki coloured handbag contained her purse with various cards and £175 in cash. The purse is blue leather with a metal Celtic design on the front and a clasp, and In the bag was her bank card, bus pass, breakdown recovery card, £1.50 in change and £175 in cash.
In wrenching the basket from the silver scooter, the offenders caused damage to the ignition key which means the scooter cannot be used until repaired, stranding the woman at home with no means of getting about.
Bedfordshire Police have told Heart the route the victim took was:
De Parys Avenue, crossing to Park Avenue entering Bedford Park, then exiting Bedford Park to Larkway.
Right on to Avon Drive crossing the junction with Tyne Crescent.
Footpath past St Marks Church on to Jackmans Walk, Tyne Crescent and Carron Road
Skerne Passage on to Browney Path
The offenders are described as:
Black male, 13 yrs, 5ft, slim, shaved black hair wearing a black/brown chequered hoody.
Black male, 17-18 yrs, 6ft, muscular, wearing black NIKE hoody with the hood worn up.
Black male 5ft 9ins, wearing a black/grey hoody with the hood worn up, black tracksuit bottoms riding a mountain bike.
Two further teenage black males.
PC Julie Jennings is investigating the theft and abuse and is keen to hear from anyone who can help identify the offenders.
“The woman was being followed at a distance of about 10 feet for about 45 minutes by this group who were shouting abuse. Apart from the fact it was very hurtful, offensive and frightening, she’s been left without transport and is feeling very isolated and vulnerable,” said PC Jennings.
“She wasn’t able to see anyone who might have been able to summon help for her but it’s possible that someone has seen this group of boys following her and not realised what was going on, or felt too intimidated themselves to intervene. If anyone does remember seeing this lady in her scooter, or the boys following her, then please contact us,” she said.
PC Jennings can be reached by the 24hr non-emergency number 101, or text the control room direct on 07786 200011.
Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. You do not have to give your name but could still receive a cash reward for your information.