Terminally ill Preston grandfather fears being stuck inside for his final months as vandals destroy his mobility scooter
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Last week, John Annereau from Ashton-on-Ribble, had his mobility scooter stolen from the front of his flat in the middle of the night, with thieves trashing it before making away with the barrel lock.
John suffers from skin cancer, which has now spread into his lymph nodes and has become terminal, being told he only has months left to live. The grandfather of seven relies on his mobility scooter every day as the illness has left him unsteady on his feet.
John, a former trolley worker on the trains, said: “The scooter’s a must in my life because otherwise I can't get around. Last week, two young lads decided they were going to relieve me of it and it was found at the bottom of the road, and they had completely trashed it. It made me feel gutted because as I say, it was my only means of getting out. It means I’m stuck in the house and can’t do anything.
“Somebody coming onto my property and doing something like, you feel violated.
“They think it's a bit of fun but at the end of the day it's my mobility that's been taken away from me. It's not a nice thing to happen, it really upset me.”
Upon finding the ruined scooter, a neighbour checked their CCTV where a group can be seen taking off with the vehicle at around 3am. John then went to the police with the incident, and an investigation remains ongoing.
Although the scooter has been returned to John, it will need at best a full repair, and at a worse a replacement, but with no insurance, the family cannot afford this themselves.
His ex-wife and good friend, Cate Brassington said: “This scooter had broken recently, it needed a new battery, and some other new bits, and Macmillan Cancer Support had very, very kindly given us a grant towards paying most it. So we've just spent £500 on it, and then this has happened and we’ve had the repair company come out again and we're hoping they come back saying they can repair it, however much that's going to cost, but we don't know as yet, if its even repairable.
“But it's just the frustration for him, that he's now, again, stuck in the house. And if we can’t afford a new one, then he’s stuck in the house until he dies basically, which is a really, really horrible thought, that you're confined to your home, because of some idiot, it just seems so awful.”
Cate has set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds for either the repair or replacement, and she added “The worlds a dire place at the moment, and money’s tight, so the fact that anybody is willing to donate to help this complete stranger is just such a lovely thing for people to do.”
Lancashire Police confirmed they had received a report of a theft of a mobility scooter from outside an address on Preesall Road, Ashton-on-Ribble, at approximately 8am on November 10. Police said that, after viewing the CCTV from a neighbouring property, the suspects could not be identified and so they closed the case on November 14 as there were no further lines of enquiry at that time. However on November 15, they re-opened the investigation.
Supt Hassan Khan, of Preston Police, said: “We take reports of this kind of crime very seriously and we understand totally the impact this offence has had on this man. The mobility scooter is vital to him getting out and having independence.
“He is aware that the investigation is very much live and that enquiries are continuing. The victim has been visited by an officer from Neighbourhood Policing to update him.”
No one has been arrested at this time, with enquiries ongoing. Anyone with information about the theft of the mobility scooter is asked to contact 101, quoting log 0248 of November 10, 2022.