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Stroke victim gets stolen scooter back
AN 84-year-old stroke victim who was left house-bound after his mobility scooter was stolen has been reunited with the vehicle after it was recovered with the batteries drained.
Geoffrey Francis, of Russell Walk, Walcot, broke down in Swindon town centre little over two weeks ago, and an apparent Good Samaritan came to assist him.
Known to his victim only as Chris, the man offered to install solar panels to the £3,000 vehicle before he took it for a test drive and disappeared.
Geoffrey said: “I broke down in the middle of town a few weeks ago outside the town hall. This chap was sitting in his own buggy in a cafe nearby. He came across to me and asked if he could help.
“You do not usually get insurance with mobility scooters, which I find a bit strange, but I have full insurance on my scooter, in case it breaks down or I run into someone and injure them.
“I chose to get it, it is not compulsory. I am insured for £3,500, and for that they bring you home and cover all the costs.
“I did not have a mobile phone, so he rang the insurance company for me. He spent an hour with me, but I only got his first name as Chris. I did not get his surname or his address. I have had a couple of strokes and my memory isn’t brilliant, so I may have gone and forgotten it.
“He had some panels on the back of his buggy, and he said he gets a three amp trickle of power which would keep him going when he breaks down. I thought that was a great idea, and he offered to come and fit them for me.
“He came out to my house the next day to fit them. After he finished he offered to take it for a test drive to make sure the panels would stay on.
“I told him he was to keep on the estate. I told him to keep turning left, and he would eventually make his way back here. That was the last I saw of him.”
Geoffrey was reunited with the scooter after police recovered it from a shop on Devizes Road, but the batteries were not the originals.
“This is very good news, but the batteries in it are not mine,” he said.
“They were useless and it would cost about £300 to replace them. They were completely burnt out and are no good.
“Police tell me it was picked up by a gentleman from a disabled shop on Devizes Road. He had to take the batteries out because they were not any good.
“I am surprised that Chris did not even come back for his scooter.”
The find has freed Geoffrey up to leave the house after weeks of being cooped up.
“I was completely housebound, so it was affecting me,” he said. “I used to be able to use the scooter to go to the shops and help my wife with the shopping, but I couldn’t even leave the building.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “At 10.45 am on September 6 an Invacare Comet mobility scooter valued at £3,000 was stolen from the Walcot area of Swindon.
“Following extensive enquiries, the victim has been reunited with this mobility scooter. A 53-year-old man is now assisting police with their enquiries which are ongoing.”
“Wiltshire Police would also like to thank the public for their assistance in this investigation.”