By SIMON DEAN
TO millions, mobility scooters are a gateway to freedom and an escape from the prison of infirmity. But to the rest of us, they are a F***ING MENACE!
Behind every old dear trundling to the shops lies a trail of death, destruction and bloodshed. The problem has got so bad in Dorset, police have now started courses which teach OAPs how to use their mobility devices without maiming the public.
Police in Christchurch have organised a scooter driver awareness course in the town, where almost a third of the population is of retirement age.
Pensioners are put through their paces on an obstacle course of crossings, traffic lights and cones. Scooter salesman Mike Ruddick, who helped to organise it, said: “Those who tend to speed are men, who traditionally go for the bigger scooters.
“The biggest problem we have is that there is no need for anybody to have a licence, and also a lot of people who have scooters are using them without knowledge of the rules of the road.”
PC Dave Williams of Christchurch Police said: “There were complaints from local residents about the manner in which the scooters are driven. “This is obviously not all scooter drivers, but some people have caused a bit of concern amongst other road users.”
We looked in the Sunday Sport files and found some recent examples of mobility scooter madness that are so extreme, we’ve given them our special MOBI AWARDS!
HE might be 91, but life in the fast lane still had its fascination for Stanley Murphy (left). The retired builder’s electric mobility scooter ended up on one of the busiest roads in the country after he took a wrong turn on his way home from buying his morning newspaper. Shocked drivers spotted him trundling along at 3mph while cars and lorries sped past at 70mph or more on the six-lane A27 at Shoreham, West Sussex.
DRIVERS were stunned to see a flying carpet zooming at them down the street – balanced on an OAP’s mobility scooter. The daredevil’s vehicle looked like it had wings as the huge rug stuck 5ft out on either side. Even with the pedal to floor it could only do 8mph. Gary McKenna, 20, who filmed the man in Wincanton, Somerset, said: “I thought it was rather out of the ordinary.”
A MAN caught driving a mobility scooter after putting more than FOUR TIMES the legal alcohol limit was let off from a drink-driving charge at magistrates’ court. Despite three hearings, the court decided in the end that the scooter was too small to be classed as a road vehicle. James Spangenberg- Ferrelli was stopped by police officers in his home town of Tiverton, Devon. The attending police officers then asked him to provide a sample of breath, which was found to be a very high 147mg of alcohol per 100ml.
CONFUSED Alfie Basswick, 81, spent FIVE MINUTES in sheer terror after yobs picked up his scooter with him in it and stuck it a fairground dodgems rink. The evil youths laughed at the terrified OAP as he was battered around, and filmed his plight on their mobile phones. The war veteran’s torment only ended when the ride operator spotted the sickening spectacle and unplugged the power cable from a nearby street light. A witness, who refused to give his name, said: “Four of these yobs picked up the old man in his electric chair and plonked him in the middle of the dodgems. “The poor chap had no idea what was going on. When the lad from the control booth pulled the power cable, the people on the ride were more bothered about getting their money back than this old man.” Widower Alfie was badly shaken and had to be tended to by a passing district nurse, who called an ambulance. But after a hospital check-up in Vange, Essex, he was given the all-clear and taken home to nearby Fobbing. Neighbour Sharon Grant said: “Poor Alfie was really shook up. Who could do such a thing to an old man?” Police believe the thugs responsible may have been high on a meow-meow/nutmeg cocktail. A source said: “ This mixture makes young people act like gibbons.”
A PENSIONER was slapped with an Asbo after riding his mobility scooter down a dual carriageway. Drivers watched in horror as the 80-year-old man joined the A12 motorway in Essex and crawled along the 70mph road at 8mph. Police formed rolling roadblocks around the oblivious pensioner. Sergeant Jason Dearsley of the A12 Alliance Patrol Team said: “Instead of tying up the court’s precious time we decided that the best way to deal with this was to use powers normally used for dealing with boy racers
GRANDAD Jim Gow, 80, was kicked out of social after club bosses blamed him for ripping up their rugs. Despite being the honorary president of the Polmont Bowling Club he was barred from the building in Stirling when wall found and blamed on him. Jim said: “I used to go to the club six nights a week. They stopped me going in with the scooter because of wear and tear. The carpet’s not worn – there’s nothing wrong with it.” Jim and daughter Jenny Risk, 48, are now appealing to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for help with his case. Jenny said: “This is dad’s social life. He’s sitting at home when he’d rather be at the club – it’s ridiculous. “I’m sure my shoes would cause more damage to carpets than his scooter.”
A WOMAN on a mobility scooter sped off after a ‘hit and run’ – leaving an elderly couple badly injured. June Petty, 69, spent 10 days in hospital with a broken pelvis while hubby Ken, 69, suffered cuts and bruises. They were walking near their home in Mexborough, South Yorks, when the battery-powered scooter knocked them off their feet. As they lay on the pavement the driver, a middle-aged woman, drove off shouting: “I have to go to Tesco.” Mr Petty: “You see people whizzing about on them all over the place, but they are lethal.”
A DISABLED shopper was fined £80 for crashing his mobility scooter at a Tesco store. The man was seen speeding down an aisle in the supermarket, narrowly missing a child, and security staff alerted police. When asked to slow down by Tesco staff, he became verbally abusive. According to police, the 32-year-old drove into the barriers at the front of the store, at Sprawston in Norfolk, causing damage. He was detained by store security staff. When cops arrived they issued him with an £80 fine for causing criminal damage. Tesco refused to say if the man had been banned from the store.
A PENSIONER was been slapped with an ASBO for driving through a town centre on her mobility scooter while blasting out the NWA hit F*** The Police on her stereo. Edna Imeson, 81, rode through the shopping precinct in her home town of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, upsetting fellow shoppers and terrifying schoolchildren with the offensive lyrics in the cult rap song. Cops were called and escorted the grandmother-of-four home under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Widow Edna was given an antisocial behaviour order banning her from playing loud music in the town when she appeared at South Durham County Court. She said: “To be honest, I’ve never been the same since my Brian died in 1989. "The drink doesn’t help"
AN OAP who terrorised his neighbourhood from his mobilty scooter was jailed. Derek Jones’s campaign of harassment included threats to kill, vile abuse, vandalising vehicles and running over one of his victims’ feet. A court heard the 75-year-old made his neighbours’ lives a misery, and they had to spend a fortune installing CCTV. Loughborough, Leics, locals said Jones’s actions left them fearing for their lives. The town’s magistrates heard he targeted 42-year-old Andrew Leavesley after he asked if they could swap car parking spaces. He was told to “f**k off”. The OAP denied harassment but was found guilty and jailed for 18 weeks and handed a twoyear restraining order.