A DISABLED Burnley woman says her lifeline has been cut off after housing association workers removed her mobility scooter from her block of flats, along with a pile of rubbish.
Miss Sharlene Ayres (47), who suffers chronic ME, said since the incident two weeks ago, she has been forced to rent a scooter and is unable to travel out of Burnley.
The scooter, which cost her £250, had been stored under the stairs on the ground floor of the building in Edgeworth Grove in pieces, ready to be put into her sister’s car. Miss Ayres said it also had a note attached saying ‘please do not remove’.
But when she left her first-floor flat to collect the scooter, she found it had gone and the note was on the floor.
A neighbour told her Calico staff had removed the scooter, along with furniture left there by other residents.
She said she reported the incident to the police, but was told to take the matter up with Calico.
She said: “Calico took it to the tip. I’m having to hire a scooter to do my shopping but I can’t go out of town on it. I used to take my scooter on the bus to Nelson and out to the countryside but I can’t do that now.
“I had to leave the scooter downstairs because I can’t carry it up to my flat. I want other disabled people to be aware of this so they don’t have their scooters taken away.”
Mr Andy Williams, Calico’s director of customer services, said: “Last month, after a complaint from a resident, we removed a pile of items from the communal area of one of our blocks of flats.
“The items, which had been there since before November, included a rusty heater, a broken armchair and a scooter that was in several pieces and clearly beyond repair.
“We have been working closely with Lancashire Fire and Rescue to keep our communal hallways as safe as possible, and this presented a very real fire hazard.
“For more than a month beforehand, we repeatedly asked the residents to remove their rubbish and this was not done. We took steps to remove the rubbish and make the area safe and tidy again.”