Epileptic robbed in Kidsgrove street as he had fit- by thieves who pretended to help him
THIEVES snatched a wallet belonging to an epilepsy sufferer while he was having a fit in a town centre.
The crooks at first pretended to help pensioner John Bostock as he lay paralysed on the pavement in Kidsgrove.
But they then rifled through his pockets and stole the victim's wallet containing £10 in cash, bank cards and his free bus pass.
Now the 66-year-old, of Woodlands Avenue in Butt Lane, has revealed it was the sixth time he has been targeted while suffering seizures since his illness was diagnosed 20 years ago.
He believes the recession is to blame for the latest attack in broad daylight.
The latest theft was in King Street in mid-morning as Mr Bostock was out shopping, just before Christmas.
He was also targeted in Burslem around four years ago, and Manchester in 2011, when the culprits used his cards to buy £600 worth of goods including petrol and food.
The former foundry manager, of Butt Lane, said: "This is so frequent it is almost becoming an occupational hazard of suffering from epilepsy.
"Other sufferers up and down the country have told me it has happened to them as well.
"To those in good health it must sound sickening that some people will stoop this low but when you have epilepsy you see it is as just another thing to get through.
"They steal stuff like bus passes and rail cards which they cannot use and if they are so desperate for cash I would probably give them a tenner."
The ex-grenadier guard helped form the Stoke-on-Trent branch of Epilepsy Action in 1995 after encountering little local help for sufferers.
He has been chairman for the past eight years and sits on the charity's national council.
He also runs a helpline – 0808 800 5050 – for fellow patients.
Mr Bostock – a finalist in The Sentinel's Our Heroes awards in 2006 – hopes that by speaking out he will not deter people from trying to help when sufferers have seizures.
He said: "Ninety-nine percent of people are genuine and we appreciate their actions.
"The problem is when you come round and find your wallet gone, you have no idea who took it so the chances of them being caught are negligible.
"I sometimes have two seizures a month and if I knew in advance when they were coming I'd leave my wallet at home. But you just can't tell.
"When it happened in Manchester I had just left a Dolly Parton concert at the MEN arena and they took my rail card I was using to get to a management meeting in Leeds the next day – so it cost me a lot to replace it in time."
Stacey Rennard, campaigns manager at Epilepsy Action, said: "Taking advantage of anyone who is in a vulnerable state is obviously unacceptable.
"A particular concern is that some people with epilepsy carry medical ID cards in their wallet or purse.
"These are used to let people know what to do in case of a seizure and to inform medical professionals that a person has epilepsy."
A police spokesman said: “The Kidsgrove incident was reported to us as lost property involving a wallet containing cards and a bus pass.”