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Vandals urinate on man’s wheelchair

ben dryden and erin mullen
ben dryden and erin mullen Image credit: thescottishsun.co.uk

A disabled man from Scotland is asking the council to be rehoused after being a repeated target for thugs.

Ben Dryden has been a victim for a group of yobs who have left his wheelchair dripping in urine.

The 20-year-old has Friedreichs ataxia, he relies on his partner Erin Mullen to carry him up and down 15 stairs in their flat in Arbroath, but it is becoming too much strain on the couple.

They have constantly asked Angus Council to find them a new suitable place, but they have yet to be rehomed.

When Ben’s wheelchair was covered in urine by local thugs the couple said it they have had enough.

To make things even tougher the wheelchair is stored on the ground floor due to the lack of space in their apartment and the couple have a young son to look after.

Erin,19, told the Scottish Sun: "It's a total nightmare. The stuff with the chair is just making a bad situation a lot worse.

"I'm just trying to understand how anyone could do that to a disabled person's chair. We can't put up with it anymore. It's disgusting. The lowest of the low.

"How could anyone stoop so low to urinate on someone's wheelchair?

"This has been an ongoing problem for at least the past six months and has definitely been a contributing factor for requesting a move.

"Given Ben's condition the flat isn't suitable anyway but we've had occasions when the battery out of the wheelchair has been stolen and we've had the extensions cut up which help to charge it.

Erin believes the thugs vandalise Ben’s wheelchair because he is an easy target.

She said: "It can't be a coincidence. And I think it has to be someone from the block of flats who knows the chair is there and when it gets charged and everything.

"I've been here three years and Ben has been here for about the past year, and it's just been constant for that length of time"

The couple started to display signs asking people to ensure the wheelchair is protected on the ground floor, but all their notices are taken down.

Erin said: "Ben is basically bed-bound, he's got a spinal fusion because he had Scoliosis - a sideway curvature of the spine - as part of his condition. Me having to carry him up those stairs is challenging and to make life even harder someone is tampering with his wheelchair.

"On Friday I dropped our little boy off at nursery. Just before I left I set up the extension and put the wheelchair on charge and went to the shop.

"I came back and the extension was unplugged and there was a really strong smell of urine from the wheelchair and it was soaked which is disgusting.

"Ben is completely depressed by the ongoing situation, it's disheartening to think someone is going out of their way to do this."

The couple have requested a move with the council and are eagerly awaiting an update, and hope that their situation could help speed that up.

She added: "We've been told we're highest priority and as soon as something becomes available that meets Ben's needs we'll be rehoused.

"We've asked the council and they just say they've not had anything suitable, which I understand but we've told them our situation.

"It's just so disheartening. We have 15 steps up the flat so it's really hard for Ben to get up and down. He's basically stuck in the flat most of the time.

"He weighs the same as me so it's really hard to lift him up and down.

"He just wants some sort of quality of life back. He's not after anything special - just something that will give him some independence again."

An Angus Council spokesperson said: "We work with customers to try and find accommodation solutions that meet their needs. However, the shortage of affordable housing means applicants may have to wait longer than we would ideally like."

Police Scotland have said they are investigating an incident of vandalism.