DORSET has seen a 70 percent increase in the number of “anti-social” incidents involving mobility scooters in barely three years.
So many incidents are happening that police officers have been sent on a special course using real life case studies so they can learn how to deal with mobility mayhem.
A typical incident involved 83-year-old retired lamplighter Albert, arrested after a vicious clash on Weymouth Esplanade with four skinheads in a red Ford Escort with go-faster stripes sporting two large foam dice dangling from the driver’s mirror.
They drove up quietly behind him before the driver activated air horns which blasted out Marching Through Georgia so loudly that a startled Albert swallowed his dentures, but the four’s escape was halted by a pedestrian crossing, allowing Albert to catch up at 6mph.
Police who pieced together what happened next believe the large amount of excrement on all the Escort’s seats was caused by the irate pensioner limping up to the driver’s window and lobbing a can of MACE into the back seat before deploying an industrial strength taser.
Hysterical accounts from the skinheads claimed they’d been attacked by a ten-strong gang of local thugs and they strongly denied being bested by a lone pensioner, but CCTV footage captured the incident – now a police Christmas dinner favourite – and Albert was later arrested.
At his subsequent trial, Judge Knott said the octogenarian may have been provoked but the law was the law even if it did involve “scum like that”, Albert receiving a conditional discharge provided he gave Judge Knott the address of his MACE supplier.
Officers are also boosting their training by going through the case of a terrible duel between Millicent Halfbuckle, a spinster of 78 years, and Harold Penfold, a widower of 81 years.
They met in a narrow side street in Weymouth town centre where neither Harold in his three-wheel Reliant Robin nor Millicent in her mobility scooter would give way.
Words were exchanged and sobbing bystanders later told police that both pensioners drew back and then charged each other like jousting knights of old.
When the dust settled Harold’s colostomy bag had torn open and his Reliant Robin was on its side minus the front wheel while Millicent’s false leg had been hideously twisted up her back, she had lost her bi-focals and was lashing out with her walking stick at those trying to put her scooter back upright.
Sgt Eileen Dover said: “More and more of our officers are having to cope with such incidents with several being injured by the protagonists, so it is important that they learn how to deploy body armour and issue those nice striped mint humbugs to help defuse these situations.
“It would appear that you are never too old to lose your temper and we maintain a zero tolerance policy for pensioners the same as we do for other age groups.
“So we would urge all mobility scooter offenders to remember this. You can hide slowly but you can’t run!”