A HEARTLESS theft has left a grandfather without the ability to leave his flat.

In the latest in string of thefts, David Burnside, 69, had his electric mobility scooter stolen from the block of flats he has lived in for 20 years.

Mr Burnside, who lives on the first floor of flats on Longfield Road, Darlington, parked his scooter at the bottom on the communal staircase.

It was later found smashed up in Sparrow Hall field nearby.

An eyewitness told police she had seen two young men riding the scooter not far from the flats shortly before it was discovered.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve had property stolen from the flat,” said Mr Burnside. “My grandson’s pushbike was stolen from outside the door to my flat, they cut off the lock and went off with it. That was at some time during the time.

“A man on the same floor also had his bike stolen shortly after he moved in.

“When I was admitted to hospital, someone stole the extension for my scooter and my backpack has also been taken.”

The scooter went missing between Sunday, August 1 and the following Tuesday – and Mr Burnside said the perpetrators have also stolen his independence.

“My daughter came by to drop off food for me, and noticed that my scooter wasn’t where it is usually parked.

“We quickly realised it had been stolen, but we couldn’t pin point exactly when or who by,” he said.

“It’s my only means of getting around as my mobility is poor.

“On my right side I only have half a foot and on my left side I only have three toes so I can’t walk far as my balance isn’t good.

“I can’t even nip to the shop for essentials without it.”

Mr Burnside is not sure who is responsible for the consistent thefts – he has contacted the council and pleaded to be rehomed somewhere he feels is safer.

“It’s a shame to have to move because I’ve lived here for 20 years with no problems, but over the past few years it’s become impossible here.

“As much as I would like to get my independence back, I refuse to purchase a new scooter while I live here for fear it will be stolen or smashed up.”

A meeting is taking place today with Mr Burnside’s social worker and the housing association to assess whether he can be relocated into new accommodation.

“Both my children have raised their concerns for my welfare to the council, and we’re all hoping they can find me somewhere new, and safer, to live.”