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More MS news articles for November 2003

Thieves ground MS sufferer

Ken Ledster has been unable to get around since his battery-powered scooter was stolen. He is also unhappy with the police response to the incident.

November 11, 2003
Matt Eley
Ham and High

A multiple sclerosis sufferer has been left virtually housebound after thieves stole his only means of transport.

Ken Ledster, of Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, was returning from meeting a friend when he discovered his battery-powered scooter – which is classed as a wheelchair – had been stolen.

The 35-year-old had parked the vehicle outside Barclay’s Bank near Swiss Cottage tube station at about 6am on October 17. When he returned a few hours later the scooter, which was fitted with an immobilising device, had been stolen.

Mr Ledster, who has lived in the area for about six years, told the Ham&High the vehicle “weighs about 250 pounds and would have taken two men to carry it” from the area.

He said: “I can’t believe people would do this. I am completely gutted and annoyed, it’s just callous. It’s my main means of getting around and I am now relying on friends for lifts and taxis.

“It’s classed as a wheelchair and it is very important to my daily life. Without it I am effectively housebound because I can’t do my shopping or other things like that.”

The vehicle – worth around £5,000 – is identical to the type of four-wheel scooters often used by the elderly.

Mr Ledster added he was unhappy with the police response to the theft.

“When I came back and saw it had been taken I called the police on 999 but they said it wasn’t an emergency and told me to contact my local station.

“I called the station and they gave me a crime number but nobody has been to interview me. I think the police response has been very unsatisfactory and negative.”

Last week the Ham&High revealed that the borough of Camden has the highest rate of vehicle crime in London, with more than 7,000 thefts from vehicles last year.

There were also reports of 2,000 stolen vehicles – a rate of five a day.

Sergeant Colin Edwards, of Camden police, defended the police response to the incident.

He said: “Unfortunately this type of crime is not a priority and even if it was we can only go on what evidence we have to try and catch the thief.

“On this occasion we have very little evidence to assist us so even if it was a priority crime we wouldn’t have the thief in custody.”

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