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Woman in shock after her wheelchair is stolen

PUBLISHED: 07:21 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 07:35 22 July 2020

Jessie Barter, 26, a support worker from Dereham had her wheelchair stolen from her work on the Green Industrial Estate in Dereham. Picture: Jessie Barter

Jessie Barter, 26, a support worker from Dereham had her wheelchair stolen from her work on the Green Industrial Estate in Dereham. Picture: Jessie Barter

Archant

A Norfolk woman has spoken of her shock after having her wheelchair stolen from outside her workplace.

Jessie Barter suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and has been in a wheelchair for the past five years.
Picture: Jessie BarterJessie Barter suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and has been in a wheelchair for the past five years. Picture: Jessie Barter

Jessie Barter, 26, a support worker from Dereham, suffered the loss from the Sense Centre on the Rash’s Green Estate, in Dereham.

On July 19 around 7pm Miss Barter and her partner left the chair as the centre was not open over the weekend, leaving it out of sight from the public.

She drops the chair off so she can travel to work on her mobility scooter.

When she arrived at work on July 20 she noticed the chair was not there, but thought nothing of it.

Jessie Barter,said she was in shock after losing the chair and struggled to accept that the chair was taken. Picture: Jessie BarterJessie Barter,said she was in shock after losing the chair and struggled to accept that the chair was taken. Picture: Jessie Barter

“The chair wasn’t there, but I thought my colleague would have taken in it,” she said.

“But when I mentioned it I saw her jaw drop and I knew it was gone.”

She asked around other businesses on the estate, but there was no CCTV.

After losing the wheelchair she said she was in “shock for about an hour”, and struggled to accept that the chair was taken.

“When I rang the police I thought there must have been a mistake, someone at work who I had not spoken to had taken it in.

“I just couldn’t believe that someone would take it.”

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The 26-year-old suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and has been in a wheelchair for the past five years.

She works with vulnerable people and disabled adults and relies on the chair to work. She was told a temporary chair could be available in a week, but a full replacement would take up to six weeks.

She said whoever did this had taken away her independence.

“It was done by someone with no respect, no empathy for other people’s situations - someone who clearly doesn’t understand the repercussions that it has on me, my independence and mobility.

“I hope people with mobility equipment are aware that people out there will take this equipment.”

She said that her manager allowed her to work on paperwork in the office, meaning she did not need to take sick pay for the week. But she was stuck using an office chair to get around.

Norfolk police confirmed they received a report of a theft between approximately 7pm on Sunday 19 July and 9am on Monday 20 July.


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