TV thieves turn off vital oxygen

Dan Roberts with the plug socket his Dad David's oxygen machine was disconnected from.

Dan Roberts with the plug socket his Dad David's oxygen machine was disconnected from.

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CALLOUS thieves left a seriously ill man without his lifeline after they switched off his oxygen supply while stealing a television.

David Roberts, 55, had only been out of hospital for two days, when his home was broken into.

When criminals pulled the plug out in order to steal the housebound hotelier’s flat screen TV, they also unplugged his oxygen machine.

Thankfully his wife Vicki heard the machine’s alarm sound, and was able to go to her husband’s aid.

The couple and their son Dan, who run the California Hotel on Hornby Road, were left shaken by the incident.

Mr Roberts had only just come home after spending two-and-a-half months being treated at Blackpool Victoria.

Mrs Roberts said: “David needs to be hooked up to oxygen all the time because he suffers from respiratory disease. He needs the machine to keep oxygen levels up in his blood.

“He can function without it for a short time so while obviously it wasn’t fatal, if he had been completely oxygen dependent, it could have been.

“I heard the alarm going off and my main concern was to get the oxygen back on.”

The couple’s son Dan, who has helped them run the hotel since Mr Roberts fell ill two years ago, said: “Luckily the oxygen supply wasn’t off for long and he is OK.

“I know the thieves didn’t mean to switch off the oxygen on purpose but this is a petty crime which could have cost us very dearly.

“Also, my dad is housebound so having a TV means a lot to him and these thieves have proved they are really callous to do this.

“I also want to warn other hoteliers in the area that thefts are happening.”

The incident happened at about 4.30pm on Sunday when the burglars entered the property through a rear door and went into the downstairs accommodation which is used by Mr Roberts.

Blackpool Police confirmed they were investigating.

Anyone with information should contact Blackpool Police on (01253) 293993.