Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

Dad 'could have been killed' after oxygen tank was stolen from his wheelchair

A 63-year-old man was left fearing he could die after his oxygen tank was snatched from his electric wheelchair.

Geoffrey Taylor had put his headphones on while listening to a call in the Brambles Farm area of Middlesbrough.

Suddenly, he found himself struggling to breathe.

Geoffrey, who has to be on oxygen 24/7, began to hyperventilate as he turned and so three boys with ‘trapper-style hats’ running away.

He told TeesideLive: ‘I was coming back from my friends and I got a phone call, so I stopped to put my earphones in to listen to my call. While I was on the call, some youths came over, cut the oxygen bottle on the back of my electric wheelchair, and took the full thing.

‘I didn’t even feel them come along until I started to feel as if I couldn’t breathe properly. I turned around and I noticed these lads running away and then I noticed that my oxygen bottle had gone.

‘There were three of them together. They had actually cut my oxygen pipe as well, I didn’t feel them at all!

‘I panicked a bit because I was starting to hyperventilate. I got straight back to my flat and I just broke down.

‘It’s hard enough as it is going out being disabled. But then to have this happen to you.’

Geoffrey said he was told that the oxygen tank has been found abandoned, near Brambles Farm.

The dad-of-three added: ‘I don’t think they realise how much – it’s someone’s life and they could take it away. We are not all angels when we are kids.

‘But at the same time, we’d never ever think of doing that to someone else. The consequences are that they could have killed me, I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else.’

Geoffrey is on oxygen 24/7 now because of complications after he had a blood clot in his knee.

He says that he has too much carbon dioxide in his bloodstream, meaning he has to have an oxygen supply all the time, and as a result, can’t walk very far.

Cleveland Police released an appeal on Wednesday for anyone who witnessed the incident to get in touch.

A force spokesperson said: ‘A 63-year-old man, who uses a wheelchair, was travelling along College Road in Middlesbrough when three suspects approached him and stole an oxygen tank from the rear of the wheelchair.

‘The incident occurred on Tuesday March 14 at 1pm. Two of the males were described as wearing blue trapper style hats and one of the males was wearing a grey trapper style hat.

‘One male was wearing a wax jacket and the other wore a bomber jacket. They are all believed to be teenagers.

‘Anyone who witnessed the incident or knows of the males responsible is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 quoting 048121. Independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, or online at<>.’

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