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Disability charity warns people in wheelchairs to be aware of thieves

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 November 2015

Teresa Emmery's husband Edward had someone rifle through her bag which was on the back of his wheelchair while she was in Bon Marche.

Teresa Emmery's husband Edward had someone rifle through her bag which was on the back of his wheelchair while she was in Bon Marche.

Archant

“Everyone needs to be vigilant”, is the message from a disability charity following reports of items being taken from bags hanging off wheelchairs.

Jane Gregory, befriending co-ordinator at Havering Association for People with Disabilities, advised wheelchair users to keep their valuable belongings safe while out and about.

Her advice comes following reports of disabled shoppers being targeted.

Teresa Emmery, 59, of Regarth Avenue, Romford, was surprised to see police in clothes shop Bon Marche, The Liberty shopping centre, Romford, on Friday. The officers had been called after an elderly woman in a wheelchair had money taken from her bag.

When Teresa went to tell her husband Edward who was waiting outside, he pointed to her bag on the back of his wheelchair.

She said: “My husband had a stroke eight-years-old so it’s difficult for him to communicate but I knew something had upset him.

“He said someone went through my bag while I was in the shop but it didn’t look like they took anything.

“I don’t have anything of any value in there anyway but it is unbelievable that the thought to do that would cross someone’s mind.

“Do they not have any compassion?

“I think people need to be made aware and be warned that this does happen and they need to be careful.”

Mrs Gregory added: “It is terrible to think that people would be capable of doing such a thing but it does mean we need to be more aware.

“I do understand it is easier for those in electric wheelchairs to place their bags on the back because they have to control where they’re going but they can’t keep an eye on their items.

“It would be better to have their bags with all of their valuables so keys, purses and money on their laps or maybe they could use a bum bag.”


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