Police admit wheelchair gaffe

LOSING his wheelchair left Alex Boardley angry, upset and concerned about how he could possibly replace it.Yet as he worried, little did he know that his custom-made wheelchair was actually in one of the safest places imaginable!Because while cops on the streets of Ipswich hunted for the chair and the thieves who took it, in reality it was waiting in the lost property section of the town's police station.

LOSING his wheelchair left Alex Boardley angry, upset and concerned about how he could possibly replace it.

Yet as he worried, little did he know that his custom-made wheelchair was actually in one of the safest places imaginable!

Because while cops on the streets of Ipswich hunted for the chair and the thieves who took it, in reality it was waiting in the lost property section of the town's police station.

Today Mr Boardley, who has cerebral palsy, said he was outraged at the inability of Suffolk police to link the discovery of a wheelchair with the theft of one, just one day apart. A mistake which almost left him £2,800 out of pocket.


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The 20-year-old, of Hening Avenue, Ravenswood, said: “When I got it back I saw from the sticker on the back of the chair that it had been handed in by someone on January 14; the day after I reported it stolen.

“It had been in the lost property cupboard all the time and they hadn't told me. I was gobsmacked. How incompetent can you get?

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“I don't know how they came to realise over a week later but I had just ordered a new wheelchair, because I couldn't go without one, when I got a call from the police.”

Thankfully after the call on January 22 Mr Boardley was able to cancel his order for a new wheelchair worth £2,800 and was only left with an administration fee to pay.

He added: “If they had called a day later I'm not sure I would have been able to cancel it.

“I'm so pleased to have it back. It is a bit damaged and it looks like it has been for a joyride, but I should be able to sort it out.”

Anyone with information about the theft should call Pc Jonathan Driver at Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

Has something you thought was stolen turned up somewhere unusual? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Suffolk police's response:

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said that found property items are written down in a register and cross-checked with a lost property register.

If nothing matches there, officers check the crime recording system against any reports of stolen property.

In Mr Boardley's case the procedure was followed but for some reason the wheelchair did not show up.

The spokeswoman said: "Our service has fallen short of that expected and we have failed the aggrieved on this occasion.

"An internal investigation is currently under way to determine why this happened."

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