A COURAGEOUS disabled pensioner who was mugged while on his mobility scooter says he is determined the thief won’t beat him.
Michael Folger, 70, now admits he is scared when he goes shopping in Blackpool town centre, but insists he won’t be deterred from living his day to day life.
Mr Folger, from Furness Avenue, Grange Park, was on his scooter outside Farmfoods, on Devonshire Road, when the thief snatched £40 in cash from his hand, before running away in the direction of Lidl car park.
Recalling the incident, a tearful Mr Folger told The Gazette: “He just went and I felt terrible.
“Even now I can’t believe it’s happened at all.
“I’m a bit scared when I go into Blackpool now.
“My neighbours see me out and say ‘come back in and we’ll help you’, but I’ve got to go out and help put myself right.”
“I’m getting there now and I go out every day shopping - I want to keep on going.”
Mr Folger had come across the thief at the same location on Thursday (10).
The man called Mr Folger by name and told him he knew he had previously lived in Manchester Road, central Blackpool.
He told Mr Folger he owned a stall on North Pier and offered him a job there, as well as trying to sell him cheap cigarettes.
On Friday (11) at around 11.50am Mr Folger saw the man again and agreed to buy cigarettes from him, but after he took the money out of his bag the man took it from him.
Mr Folger praised the staff at Farmfoods and the police for their quick response.
He said: “They’ve been fantastic, I couldn’t wish for better people.
“The police have been marvellous too.”
Mr Folger, a former railway worker and taxi driver who has been registered disabled for five years, lives in a flat with wife Dawn, 53, and 12-year-old twin daughters Hannah and Georgina.
Mrs Folger says the mugging has rocked her husband’s confidence.
She said: “Whoever did this is definitely the lowest of the low, it’s a bit alarming really.
“If I saw whoever did this now I’d just ask him why he feels the need to do that.
“Why does he pick on vulnerable or disabled people?
“Mike loves to go into town most days but he wasn’t having any of it when I tried to get him out this weekend.
“The main thing that freaks me out is the fact that he knew his name.
“You wonder how he knows that because Mike didn’t know him from Adam.”
Mrs Folger claims a man of a similar description has also approached her friend in Kyston Close, central Blackpool, on Wednesday (9), claiming he knew her and offering her cheap cigarettes.
Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
The man is described as white, around five foot six to five foot eight tall, with fair hair.
He was said to be of scruffy appearance and was wearing a white plastic coat, black beanie hat and black tracksuit bottoms.
PC Darren Woodley, who is investigating the incident, said: “This is an appalling crime where the man has targeted a vulnerable member of the community, thankfully the elderly gentleman wasn’t physically hurt, but was left very distressed by what had happened.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time who may have seen this man to contact police.”
Anybody with any information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on-line at Crimestoppers-uk.org.