A disabled Worthing woman has been left bedbound with crippling pain after thieves stole and damaged her mobility scooter.
Dawn Lindsey, 56, suffers from a number of debilitating conditions that seriously limit her mobility. For the last decade she has suffered from osteoarthiritis in all of her joints; a central nervous system syndrome called fibromyalgia that leaves her in constant pain; a condition called dupuytren's contracture which she said gives her 'claw-like' hands and hard, painful nodules on the bottoms on her feet from a condition called ledderhose.
Registered disabled, Dawn's conditions mean she is unable to walk more than five steps without experiencing extreme pain but on Monday (January 6), thieves took away her only lifeline.
The mother-of-three said she received a call from police at around 11.30am on Monday morning to say they had found her blue buggy badly damaged down the road. She has been unable to leave the house without her partner since, and the stress has caused a painful flare-up of her fibromyalgia that has confined her to bed.
"They obviously didn't think of the consequences of their actions," Dawn said of the thieves.
"I think some people don't have an ability to feel other people's feelings - I think there's too many people like that at the moment. It's all about them, them, them; what they can steal or have fun with. They don't think about how it will have affected me.
"It's not just a buggy, it's my whole way of life. I can't now just pop out, I've completely lost my independence. It's like someone's taken my wheelchair away. I just couldn't believe someone would try and steal a buggy."
Dawn said she is unable to walk to the bus stop, so has been unable to collect her medication from the pharmacy.
The blow to her independence, invasive nature of the crime and constant pain has had a serious impact on her mental health, she said, adding the fact the thieves came on to her drive to target her has left her feeling anxious. It was stored under a black tarpaulin, weighted down to protect against the elements.
Her partner has attempted to fix the buggy, which was not insured, but Dawn said they will most likely be forced to pay out for professional repairs - an unwelcome financial burden so soon after Christmas.
Sussex Police have released an appeal for information, estimating the crime took place some time between 8pm on Sunday evening (January 5) and 11.30am on Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police online at https://www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/ or by calling 101 and quoting serial 767 of 06/01.
Dawn, who said she was overwhelmed by shock when she realised her buggy was missing, praised the officers for their help that morning.
"I want to thank the officers for taking the time and effort to wheel it all the way to my property and stay with me when I felt weak," she said.