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Charlotte Whale has laptop stolen in Ashford town centre

A disabled woman says she has been left afraid to leave her house after her laptop was stolen from her wheelchair.

Charlotte Whale, 21, was approached by a gang of five men when on the way to meet her mum for coffee in Ashford town centre.

One of them distracted her while an accomplice snatched the laptop from the back of the wheelchair.

Charlotte Whale says she is afraid to leave the house
Charlotte Whale says she is afraid to leave the house

Miss Whale says she called police immediately but that no officers arrived at the scene.

Police confirmed they were called about the incident in Ashford High Street, but that during the call it was established the offenders were no longer at the scene and the victim was not at immediate risk of harm.

Miss Whale said: “It's very hard to understand why five boys would gang up on someone in a wheelchair.

“It’s made me feel like I don’t want to go outdoors anymore.”

After the theft, which happened just outside Boots, Miss Whale tried to track the Macbook Pro laptop using an application on her phone.

The £1,000 laptop held great importance for Miss Whale.

"It's very hard to understand why five boys would gang up on someone in a wheelchair... I feel like I don't want to go outdoors anymore" - Charlotte Whale

She said: “My life was on there. I had dates, college work, photos. I even had memories of my nan and grandad.”

Miss Whale was featured in our sister paper the Kentish Gazette about 10 years ago as her family were trying to raise funds for a special treatment for her illness.

She says her condition has improved slightly but she is currently waiting for an operation on her hip, which she has recently discovered has been dislocated since birth.

Insp Keith Taylor, from Kent Police, said: “We understand how upsetting and frustrating it is for victims of crime and will do everything in our power to protect them.

“It is important that we deploy our officers in a timely manner and in line with other calls received by the force at any one time.

"Whilst officers will always seek to attend an incident as soon as possible, priority must be given to crimes where life is in danger.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the victim this investigation is important to us and all lines of enquiry are being made.

"Our officers will continue to update the victim in this case, as it develops, and I will ensure we carry out a full review of the service that has been provided so far.”

Anyone who witnessed the theft, which happened at about 6.15pm on Wednesday, June 7, or has any information that may help is asked to call 01843 222289 quoting reference ZY/024269/17.

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