A young thief stole a disability electric tricycle and took it for a joyride around York – leaving its owner stranded.
Jamie Wood, who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, relies on the specially adapted bike to get around as he can no longer walk very far.
He left it in a clearly marked disabled parking bay next to his office at the biology department in the University of York.
It was still there when he went to a meeting at about 3.15pm on Monday (5 June) and when he returned at 4.45pm it had gone.
The theft meant he had to go home on his “very unsuitable” mobility scooter and it took him two hours.
Jamie, a professor of mathematical modelling at the university, has spent years and a lot of money adapting the bike to his needs as his MS worsened.
It includes a dropper post connected to the saddle seat and “special reversible grippy pedals, because basically I can’t tell what my legs are doing”.
The e-trike was locked with a cable lock because he no longer has the strength and manual dexterity to use a more secure D-lock.
“I switched to using a cable lock under the assumption that nobody would basically be so sick as to nick a mobility aid, but I was wrong,” Jamie said.
The route of the thief
After posting about the theft on social media, Jamie was able to piece together what had happened.
A cycle courier spotted a young lad in a black tracksuit riding the bike away from the university near Thief Lane.
Just before 6pm it was seen by someone in The Punch Bowl being ridden on Blossom Street. More witnesses “spotted it being shown off to a girl or girls outside the Everyman Cinema“.
Finally, someone saw the disability trike being “ridden on a road up in the Acomb / Foxwood area between seven and eight o’clock – just blasted along the road with somebody in the basket on the back.
“So it just looks like it’s been taken for a joyride, basically for larks and fun. And it took me two hours to get home.”
Not only is the trike his main form of transport, it is a vital part of his exercise regime, without which his MS symptoms worsen.
He is desperate to get it back. The trike is unique, but uninsured – as the insurance premiums for such a specialist vehicle are prohibitive. And even to replace the basic model without all the modifications could cost up to £4,000.
If you have any information as to the whereabouts of the disability bike, please call police on 101, with the reference number NYP-05062023-0412.
Jamie said both the university security and the PCSO who responded to his call were excellent.
But he has since learned cycle crime is rife in that part of York, and he feels North Yorkshire Police aren’t giving it enough priority.
Jamie said: “There’s a lack of appreciation that people use cycles as essential forms of transport.
“And there is just a kind of a bit of a last laissez-faire attitude towards cycle crime, which is really disappointing.”
We have asked North Yorkshire Police to comment.
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