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A widower who has a lung capacity of only 28 per cent has had his mobility chair stolen from outside his home in Erith.

Charles Thibert, 69, also believes the security cameras outside his flat at Stone Court in Erith High Street may not have been working.

The theft happened on July 28 between 1.45pm and 2.05pm just after the chair, worth around £1,000, had been serviced.

It now means Mr Thibert has to struggle to the shops in severe breathlessness.

He told News Shopper: "It will drastically affect my life if I can’t get it back.

"And I am just b**gered if the insurance company doesn’t pay up.

"It was having its annual servicing by First Step Mobility so I left it outside, in the walkway by our flats, for the man came to check it.

"He let me know he’d finished and between him leaving and me coming down to charge up the battery, it had gone.

"The insurance company refused to pay because they said it should have been locked and secured, but you can’t do that with the model I have."

News Shopper:

He is also frustrated because he believes the CCTV on his block may have failed to catch the culprit although the housing association say the images are with the police.

He said: "When I realised none of the cameras had worked, I thought this is going to be a problem.

"I told the housing association, Anchor Trust and they didn’t apologise but said they were aware the cameras weren’t working and had raised it with head office."

The retired caterer is trying to adjust to life without the Black Pride LX Mobility Power Chair.

He said: "It means I just pop into shops to get one or two things at a time rather than doing one weekly shop.

"I can do 10 or 12 paces because I have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), recently had a hip replacement and a have heart replacement valve."

However an Anchor Trust spokeswoman said the security cameras were working.

Stone Court district manager Fiona Crispin-Jennings said: “We do have CCTV at the location and all images have been made available to the police.

“They will be investigating this matter further as will we. The safety of our tenants is paramount.

"This is all we can comment on at this stage.”

Police appeal

Sergeant Chris Molnar said: "This theft may be seen as a small incident by the suspect or suspects, but this has had a major affect on Mr Thibert's life; he is unable to leave his flat and get on with daily life.

"There is CCTV in the vicinity but was faulty at the time meaning we are relying on witnesses.  

"I urge anyone who has any information about the chair, which has the serial number J3007313005M10, to call 101 or call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."