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14 February 2013, 06:31
Police are investigating after a wheelchair was stolen from a teenager who carried the Olympic Torch in Newcastle.
15 year old Will Hardy lit the cauldron in Newcastle last year as part of the Olympic Torch relay.
Overnight between 8pm on Saturday 9th of February, and 2pm on Sunday 10th February his wheelchair was stolen from outside a house at Holly Avenue in Jesmond.
William contracted meningitis at 23 months old and as a result had both his legs and his left hand amputated.
The wheelchair is loaned to him by the Freeman Hospital, which will be replacing the chair at the earliest opportunity.
Police are appealing for help to trace the person or people responsible for the theft.
Neighbourhood Inspector Louise Cass-Williams said:
"William uses his wheelchair, which is loaned to him by the Freeman Hospital, frequently.
His bravery is well recognised and he carried the Olympic Torch in Newcastle last summer.
The wheelchair was stolen from outside the house and it's beyond belief that someone would steal it, knowing full well it's an essential piece of equipment for someone who has a disability.
This is a despicable and heartless crime with absolutely no thought whatsoever for the impact this may have on the victim.
We're exploring the possibility that this may have been done as a prank, but there is nothing at all humorous about this and those responsible may now realise how harmful their actions have been.
The Freeman will be supplying a new wheelchair to William but we're doing everything possible to trace those responsible for the theft so appropriate action can be taken. I'd urge any witnesses or anyone with information to get in touch with police."