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Double blow for autistic teen's family

By Hayley Robinson

An autistic teenager’s holiday was dealt a double blow as thieves struck twice – stealing the family caravan and then two generators.

Bower Grove school pupil Dewayne Chapman and his family were looking forward to a few days away, camping at Barton’s Point, Sheerness.

But the trouble began for them on Monday when the 13-year-old’s mum Jacqueline discovered the family caravan had been stolen from its storage facility in Tickham Lane, Lynsted.

The mobile home had been parked at the site since September and had last been seen by Jacqueline at the beginning of last month

After hearing how devastated Dewayne would be at the loss of his holiday, the site owner lent 37-year-old Jacqueline one of his caravans.

With the break back on, the full-time carer packed up Dewayne, twin brother Danny and her 63-year-old mother Glynis Truckell and headed to the Island where they planned to meet up with friends.

All was going well until early Wednesday when thieves struck again – stealing two generators from the family’s camp site as they slept nearby.

They also took a jerry can of petrol with them.

The family discovered the theft at 7.30am when they got up for breakfast.

With no electricity supply, Jacqueline was forced to tell Dewayne they would have to pack up and go home less than 24-hours after they arrived.

The group of friends and their children – one who has cerebral palsy – were also forced to return home as one of the generators was providing power to their three caravans and a tent.

Jacqueline, of Oak Road, Sittingbourne, said: "Dewayne has autism and he has to have a routine.

"I’ve taken him to other places but he doesn’t like them – he only likes going to the Island, so I have to keep going to Sheerness.

"When I told him we were having to go home because someone had stolen the generators he was devastated.

"It annoys me that people think they can take things that don’t belong to them but I’m more angry that about 20 people had to go home.

"I’ve cried so much over the last few days. I just want to curl up in bed."

Anyone with information should call Sittingbourne police on 01795 419182.

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