A MUM says her family’s lives have been “ruined” by thieves who stole her disabled boy’s specially-adapted £50,000 van.
Terrified Joanne Hall revealed how she woke to find a hooded figure over her, before he fled as the 34-year-old screamed in fright.
After he ran off, the mum-of-two and her partner, Chris Kitching, discovered the modified VW Caravelle used to help her 15-year-old son Cameron get around, was gone from outside her home.
Cameron has cerebral palsy as a result of complications when he was born, with the van bought with money set aside for his care as a result of a pay out.
While he can only say a few words, he helped choose the white van, which was made to order in Germany, and has sports-style wheels and a lift to help him get in and out, with space to store his wheelchair.
It is thought two burglars were involved in the break-in, which happened at 10.30pm on Friday, when they got in to the house through a garage.
In addition to the van, they also took an iPad, which was still in its box and due to be one of Cameron’s Christmas presents, a laptop and Joanne’s Levian 14ct strawberry gold engagement ring.
Joanne’s 18-month-old daughter, Olivia, was upstairs sleeping, as was NSK worker Chris, at the time of the burglary, while Cameron was staying with relatives.
She said: “I’ve explained it to Cameron and he was upset, but I can’t bring myself to say ‘son, we can’t get out of the house’. It’s just ruined our lives
“I just thought how can people be so nasty, but these people don’t have any conscience.
“This doesn’t affect me, but Cameron is 15 years old, he’s done nothing wrong to anybody, he didn’t ask to be born like this and they’ve kicked him while he’s down.”
Joanne, of Witton Garth in Peterlee, has her Freelander, which will be used to get Percy Hedley pupil Cameron and Olivia around, but it is a struggle to get him and his wheelchair in the vehicle.
The van, which has only been on the road since March, has the registration plate NX14 OBO, with the family facing a £1,500 excess on their insurance policy.
It was running low on fuel when it was taken and it may have needed to stop for diesel nearby. Durham Constabulary said its whereabouts is unknown and there have been no sightings of it since Friday night.
Detective Inspector Dave Cuthbert said: “The family are being put through a huge amount of stress and inconvenience as a result of the burglary.
“If anyone thinks they have seen the vehicle on the roads at any time we would urge them to contact us.”
Anyone with information should ring the crime team at Peterlee via 101, or Crimestoppers, 0800 555 111.