Mar 10 2010 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Mary Watt scooter theft
CALLOUS thieves have left a frail pensioner housebound after stealing her mobility scooter and wrecking it.
Mary Watt, 66, who suffers from the lung condition COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) relies on her scooter to get to the shops and her lunch club.
The vehicle was stolen from the sheltered housing complex at James Dempsey Gardens where Mary lives. Although the scooter was recovered late on Saturday night, the damage done has left it unusable and virtually left Mary a prisoner in her own home.
An emotional Mary said: “I use the buggy to go to ASDA. The only time I don’t use it is when it’s raining. Without it I’m housebound. I even use it to get to my lunch club within the complex.
“I now have to rely on someone from Homecare coming in to take me down in a wheelchair. I love having the independence that my buggy gives me.
“My friend came up and we had a fish supper, she left and I went to bed. The first I knew of the theft was when a neighbour came to the door and told me my buggy was lying busted up.
“I don’t go out at night and one of the neighbours joked they thought I’d been out on the town.”
The pensioner has lived in the sheltered housing complex for five years and says there have been more problems recently than usual.,
She said: “There’s been a lot of young ones hanging about and jumping over walls, jumping into people’s gardens and making a nuisance of themselves. I’m disabled and I’m on oxygen, I’m scared to go to bed now.”
On inspection it was found that the thieves had broken the scooter’s plastic casing and ripped the wires from the ignition barrel to start it.
Anna McConnell is a friend of Mary’s and was disgusted by the theft.
She said: “It’s horrible.
“Mary’s disabled and whoever did this hasn’t considered the consequences for her. I came around today to give her a bit of support as she can’t get out.”
The scooter was stolen on Saturday and was recovered by police just after 11pm that night in Buchanan Street close to the Time Capsule. The scooter was returned to the sheltered housing complex but due to the late hour, police officers attending waited until the morning to speak to Mary.
PC Steven Simpson is appealing for anyone with any information on the theft to contact him at Coatbridge Police Station.
He said: “This is a horrendous crime and now a fragile and vulnerable old lady can’t go about her everyday business and her quality of life will suffer as a result.
“If anyone becomes aware of any information on this theft then I’m urging them to contact me on 01236 502009.”