MEMBERS of a riding school for the disabled are pleading for the return of a mobility scooter stolen from their stables.
The dark red scooter was used by Tradissar at its base at the Crofton Manor Equestrian Centre in Titchfield Road, Stubbington.
But when riders arrived at the centre on Monday morning the scooter was not in its usual spot.
Despite a search it could not be found.
A stereo which had been in the scooter’s basket was later found smashed on a roadside nearby.
The charity’s chief instructor Rayna Matthews, 72, contracted polio 40 years ago and was the scooter’s main user.
She said: ‘We’re devastated by the loss.
‘Although I use it the most, sometimes the disabled riders would use it to go out alongside the mounted riders – we rely on it a great deal.
‘If it was just for a half-hour of drunken fun for someone, it’s had a dramatic effect on us.
‘It’s a constant worry to raise enough money to just keep us going. Having the money to buy a new buggy is out of the question. We’d just like a new one.’
The scooter was donated to the school less than a year ago by Portsmouth-based Lewis Mobility.
Volunteer Shirley Harris added: ‘It’s a great loss – we can’t afford as a group to buy another one. We exist on a shoestring budget as it is.’
Tia Lucas, from Lee-on-the-Solent, is only six but has been going to the centre since she was four.
She said: ‘It makes me sad. It’s not very nice to steal the scooter.’
Her mum Clair Lucas, 29, added: ‘Tia’s got spina bifida and coming to the club has given her so much confidence; it’s not just about the physical exercise. I can’t believe that people would do something like this.’
The scooter was last seen at about 5pm on Sunday.
For more information on the charity go to raynadisabledrider.co.uk or to offer help call (023) 9265 1698.
Anyone with any information should contact the police on 0845 0454545 or use Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.