Anger as mobile phone stolen from visually impaired man sat with guide dog
PUBLISHED: 14:55 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 05 July 2019
"This has to stop now" - that was the reaction of campaigners after thieves stole a mobile phone from a visually impaired man in a cafe.
The man in his 20s was with his guide dog in Vinny's Cafe, in Head Gate, Colchester when the theft happened, with Pc Scott Lewis saying: "Someone targeted a member of our community because they were vulnerable."
Police are now looking to speak to a man and woman who entered the cafe at around 2.30pm handing out leaflets in connection with the theft.
A spokesman from Support for Sight, a charity which helps people who are blind or visually impaired in Essex, said that the impact of the crime could go "much deeper" for the person targeted.
The spokesman said: "As a vision impaired person you rely greatly on trust of those around you, trying to maintain an independent life with sight loss is a daily task that those with sight loss face.
"Sadly this gentleman was a victim of crime and the impact of this can go much deeper than a stolen phone.
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"Once the trust has gone, their confidence can disappear and the individual may be too scared to continue normal daily living, they may become too scared to leave their house which creates the problem of social isolation.
"Unfortunately those with a disability are three times more likely to become a victim of crime. This has to stop now."
Pc Lewis added: "It was clear the man had a visual impairment because he was with his guide dog and we want to find those responsible for this unpleasant crime.
"We would like anyone who was in or around the café at the time and saw a man and a woman handing out leaflets or has any information relating to the theft.
"Please contact the local Colchester policing team on 101, quoting crime reference 42/103582/19."
A witness described the man as wearing a white t-shirt with a black pattern and was wearing a cap.
The woman was described as possibly having her hair in a ponytail.
Information can also be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org