AN 85-year-old man had his mobility scooter stolen while he was visiting his injured wife in Worthing Hospital.
William Joyce-Evans had briefly been in the toilet when he returned to find his scooter had been taken at around 5.30pm on Saturday, September 10, from outside the League of Friends Café in the hospital, in Lyndhurst Road.
Mr Joyce-Evans, who has arthritis in both legs and has serious difficulty walking, said: “I left my scooter outside the canteen and when I came out of the lavatory it was gone.
“I thought ‘crikey’ how am I going to get home – that was my first concern.
“It left me rather stranded because I have difficulty walking. I had to hobble down the road to my car rather painfully.”
Mr Joyce-Evans, of Cross Road, Rustington, has since been forced to buy another scooter for £185 from internet trading site Ebay because of the discomfort it causes him to walk.
On the day of the theft, he had been visiting his 84-year-old wife, who fell in their home on August 29 and has still not been discharged from hospital.
Mr Joyce-Evans was told by a security guard at the hospital the scooter was taken by a young teenager, who was caught on CCTV.
He added: “What appals me is that someone would steal from hospital, and anyone stealing this must have known they were stealing from someone who can’t walk.”
Mr Joyce-Evans said his scooter was vital in assisting his mobility and giving him independence.
Sussex Police said they were unable to release CCTV footage of the theft, because it had not yet been provided to them by Worthing Hospital.
PC Duncan Slaney said: “This mobility scooter is incredibly important to the elderly owner.
“It gives him freedom and independence, which is particularly important at a time when his wife has been ill in hospital. “Police completed an area search and hospital staff have searched the hospital, but the scooter hasn’t been found.
“I’d urge the boy who took the scooter to do the right thing and let us know where it is.
“The owner understands that this may have been a joke that got out of hand and he just wants his scooter back as soon as possible.
“It is possible the scooter may have been left somewhere.
“Anyone with information that could help find it is urged to contact police.”
The fold-up mobility scooter is a grey Aqua Soothe Travel Lite with red handlebars.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting serial 1361 of 10/9 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
n Worthing Hospital was asked for a comment, but was unable to provide one before the Herald went to press.