A DISABLED pensioner who needs 18 hours of oxygen a day to help him breathe was left “flabbergasted” when his wheelchair was stolen.
David Williams, of Primrose Way, Wrexham, relies on a wheelchair to get around due to a series of serious health complaints which mean walking even a few yards leaves him completely out of breath.
The 70-year-old normally keeps his wheelchair in a a communal area in the block of flats where he has lived for 11 years with his wife Angela, 64.
But yesterday morning he awoke to discover his blue Isignia-brand non-electric wheelchair had been stolen.
He said: “I’m just flabbergasted by the thought that anyone would steal a wheelchair.
“They must know it’s a disabled person’s.”
Mr Williams said the area seemed more secure than ever since Wrexham Council installed heavy, fob-activated security doors at the entrance of the flats earlier this year.
“The security doors are really big, heavy doors.
“Someone has either come in via the tradesman’s entrance, which isn’t open for long, or they’ve got a fob or know someone who has.”
But he added that he did not expect anyone to have stolen something so obviously vital as a wheelchair.
“I’m going to have to fork out for a new one – I won't get it on the insurance as I didn’t have it locked up.
“But you wouldn’t think you’d have to keep something like a wheelchair locked up, of all things. I could understand anything else getting stolen, but not a wheelchair.”
Mr Williams’ friends searched for the wheelchair in the surrounding area on Wednesday morning, but without any luck.
Mr Williams suffers with emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which cause extreme breathlessness and leaves him liable to chest infections.
He said he cannot walk more than a few yards without getting breathless and also has to spend 18 hours every day on oxygen, either via a machine in his home or portable cannisters.
He bought the wheelchair second-hand two years ago when his mobility became impaired due to his health.
Mr Williams has notified wheelchair and scooter stores about the theft in case thieves attempted to resell it.
He said: “They’d probably get about £250 to £300 for it, second-hand on the open market.”
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “We were alerted at 8.50am on the morning of Wednesday, July 23 to reports that a wheelchair had been stolen from a stairwell at a home on Primrose Way."
Any witnesses to the incident or anyone who thinks they have seen Mr Williams’ wheelchair should contact North Wales Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
See full story in the Leader