Looters branded 'scum' after disabled man's bike stolen from flooded home


A pensioner has branded looters "scum" after her disabled son's mountain bike was stolen from their flooded home.

Wendy Law, 71, said that she was sickened to return to her home in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, to find it had been ransacked and the £1,000 mountain bike used by her 45-year-old son Michael to help his recovery after a traffic accident, gone.

Retired teacher Mrs Law said that Mr Law had been left wheelchair-bound 25 years ago after he was knocked over by a bus while a third-year medical student.

Although he had life-changing injuries he had been "determined to walk" and cycling had been an important part of his physical recovery.

But following the Boxing Day floods the mother and son were forced out of their home in Meadow Park, Irwell Vale, as the deluge tore through their home and left it uninhabitable and without power.

They have been unable to return and described possessions as "wrecked" by the one metre deep water.

Mrs Law said: "The bike has been very important since his accident. He was determined to walk and found that the bike was one way he could get about more. It is wonderful considering the prognosis.

"We couldn't stay in the house and went to different friends - when we came back the back door was open. When I went in the garage Michael's bike was gone. They had been upstairs and ransacked the place and just made a mess, they'd taken jewellery and money."

She added that for the past 12 years Mr Law had been taking part in charity bike rides between Manchester and Blackpool and had raised thousands for charities including The Christie, Cancer Research and Headway over the years, raising between £400 and £600 for each ride.

"I was upset about the flood but then angry about this, it helped me through being so angry. It's just sad. Everybody has been so wonderful, the neighbours and the local groups. My view of humanity went up hugely, then we have got this which has been despicable. I hope these scum fall in the river."

She added that Mr Law was upset by the burglary and appealed for the bike to be returned.

"He has been very supportive and got me through these last few days saying 'don't be down, they are only items', but he is upset. He is down about it.

"It (floods) has brought the best out of people and the worst out of one or two."

The bike is described as a silver Boardman with black writing. About £40 in cash was also taken during the burglary between December 29 and December .

Pc Alan Malkin from Lancashire Police's East Division Target Team said: "To see the damage caused by flooding alone is bad enough but it is made all the more tragic by the fact that the victims' house was ransacked by burglars while they were away.

"The mountain bike meant a great deal to the victim, after he had suffered a road traffic accident the bike has been part of his physical recovery process.

"It is heart wrenching to see the impact this burglary has had on the family and I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time of the burglary and may have seen anybody acting suspiciously to come forward with any information."

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference EF1512236 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.