FROM THE FRONT PAGE Tetraplegic has van stolen

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By EMMA DAWE

A Cromwell tetraplegic has been left house­bound and with no form of trans­port af­ter his wheel­chair van was stolen and left ex­ten­sively dam­aged. David Dick­son said he was ‘‘dis­gusted’’ by the ac­tions of the per­pe­tra­tors whose night of joyriding has re­sulted in thou­sands of dollars of dam­age to his van, which was his only form of trans­port. The 67-year-old, who has been a tetraplegic for nine years af­ter suf­fer­ing a sub-arach­noid haem­or­rhage, said un­til the van was ei­ther re­paired or re­placed, he was left with no way of trav­el­ling and ef­fec­tively house­bound. The van, a white Ford Tran­sit, was stolen from a lo­cal garage, where it was get­ting a war­rant of fit­ness, some­time on the night of June 20. It was taken for a joyride, be­fore be­ing left on Rogers St with ex­ten­sive dam­age in­clud­ing dam­age to both the driver’s and pas­sen­ger’s side, a miss­ing wing mir­ror and a badly dam­aged wind­screen where it ap­pears rocks were thrown at it. Eggs were thrown on the in­side of the van. Mr Dick­son’s busi­ness part­ner and long­time friend Pam Wal­lace said she was furious by the in­ci­dent and said the con­se­quences for Mr Dick­son were out of pro­por­tion to the thrill the cul­prits had that night. She said it was ob­vi­ous the van, which has a hoist, was a wheel­chair van, which made the ac­tions of the of­fend­ers even worse. She had yet to de­ter­mine if the hoist had been dam­aged. The van was in­sured but be­cause it was fairly old the in­sur­ance com­pany might end up writ­ing it off and re­plac­ing it rather than get­ting it re­paired, Mrs Wal­lace said. But what­ever the in­sur­ance com­pany de­cided to do, Mr Dick­son was go­ing to be with­out it for at least sev­eral weeks. ‘‘Ninety-five per cent of peo­ple can get a re­place­ment ve­hi­cle if theirs gets dam­aged or stolen but David can’t. It’s not that easy for him. ‘‘I just want the peo­ple

to un­der­stand the con­se­quences of their ac­tions,’’ she said. Mr Dick­son, who was the cre­ator of the Get Dot­ted pro­gramme, needed his van to travel to and from the air­port as he reg­u­larly trav­elled the coun­try to de­liver his pro­gramme. ‘‘It’s more than just an in­con­ve­nience, it’s a loss of my lib­erty,’’ he said. Mean­while, Cromwell Po­lice be­lieve the in­ci­dent was linked to the bur­glary of an In­nis­cort St house on the same night, where a child’s scooter and an Avanti moun­tain­bike were taken. As well as Mr Dick­son’s van be­ing stolen, a white Toy­ota Corona was also taken for a joyride and dam­aged be­fore be­ing aban­doned in the pine plan­ta­tion on Ban­nock­burn Rd. Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion about the in­ci­dents are urged to con­tact Cromwell Po­lice, or anony­mously on the Crimestop­pers line 0800 555 111.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

Wrecked: The white Ford Tran­sit wheel­chair van which was stolen on the night of June 20 and left on Rogers St.

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