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Friday, 22 May 2015

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Callous thieves steal sports aces’ £6,000 wheelchairs

CELEBRATIONS were short-lived for two Tynedale sports stars as cold-hearted thieves snatched a van load of specialist wheelchairs during an awards ceremony.


Power chair footballers Edward Common and Sam Smith (pictured right) were at the Village Hotel in Nottingham for a special presentation after their team won the Wheelchair Football Association Premier League.

However, their celebrations were cut short when it was discovered a Mercedes van containing four specialist chairs, worth £6,000 each, had been stolen.

The players, from Hexhamshire and Wylam respectively, are part of the Northern Thunder team, based at Killingworth’s Percy Hedley School.

The loss of the wheelchairs means that Northern Thunder is currently unable to practise.

And although 19-year-old Edward’s wheelchair was among those stolen, he now finds himself a team captain without a team.

Mum, Lorna said: “It's absolutely disgusting that anyone could do this.

“The van contained vital equipment used by disabled people and they have deprived them of it.

“It was a proud moment for the team when they attended the presentation for winning the league, and for this to happen while they were there just beggars belief.”

One of the stolen wheelchairs had belonged to Prudhoe High School student Sam.

The former Tynedale sports personality of the year had received his state-of-the art sports wheelchair as a result of dedicated fund-raising on the part of his friends.

The enterprising students ran bake sales and took part in sponsored events to raise money, determined to help their friend.

Deputy head at Prudhoe Community High School, Brian Wade, said: “Sam’s a very positive young man; he’s taken it very pragmatically, but his friends and a lot of the students are upset for him.

“They’re a very close bunch and they look out for one another, so they’re a bit angry and upset.”