FIGHTING for breath, frail pensioner Victoria Dover tells how thieves robbed her of her independence.
For the past two years, the 62-year-old widow has struggled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) restricting her day-to-day mobility.
To get around, the great-grandmother relied heavily on her mobility scooter – until thieves rode off on it from outside her home.
Now, she has been left devastated telling the Echo: “It’s disgusting. They’ve robbed me of my lifeline. I haven’t been out the house in days.
“What kind of person would do this? Don’t they know this is the only way I can get around? They just don’t care.”
Victoria, of Houghton, was in her home, just metres from where her mobility scooter was charging at the front door.
“It was fine, then the next time I looked, it was gone. They would’ve had to come through the gate and up the path to get it. I’m starting to think they might have stolen it for scrap metal, and it’s been sold on by someone.”
Victoria only bought the scooter three months ago, paying £200 for it from a neighbour.
“It’s not the cost that worries me,” she added. “It was only secondhand, but it gave me my independence. A day after it was taken, my wheelchair broke as well. They say things happen in threes – I hope that isn’t true.”
Victoria relies on support to get around from her four children, Paula, Kimberly, Lisa and Mark, who all live nearby.
She said: “The girls usually come down and lift the scooter into the house each night, but this particular time it was charging.
“I’ve heard that couple of people might have seen it being lifted into a red Micra and driven off.”
Victoria has reported the theft to police and is hoping someone might know where the scooter is and return it.
“I’ve still got the key and the charger,” she added. “But I haven’t been able to get out the house since this happened.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police confirmed they had received a report of the missing scooter, taken sometime between 5pm on Monday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 20. She added: “We were called to the Houghton address after the burgundy mobility scooter went missing.”