East Ham couple’s bike frustration ends

A disabled couple forced to squeeze past a stolen motorbike abandoned outside their home for weeks have had it moved – thanks to the Recorder.

Pensioner John Woolley, 86, claims he repeatedly told Newham Council about the blockage was obstructing ambulance crews who regularly came to take his ill wife Irene, 86, to hospital.

The frustrated couple, of Humberstone Road, East Ham – who are both registered disabled – said they were even asked during one call to the town hall to lug the large bike out of the way instead of the council sending any workers.

But the bike has finally been cleared after the Newham Recorder took up their cause this week.

John said: “I’ve called the council, probably about 10 times to see if they could move it. A couple of times, in the last two weeks, we were told someone would be round shortly. But no one ever turned up.

“But we’ve had more action in the past few days since the Recorder came and saw me than in the past five weeks.”

John, who served as a mine sweeper during World War Two, added: “After I’d called one time, I was told to see if I could move it myself. It’s the biggest bike I’ve ever seen. I can’t do any heavy lifting.

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“When you’ve been blown up twice during the war, you expect something a little bit more.

“It’s sitting on its stand, but it’s not very stable and some of the kids in the area play with it. If it were to topple over when Irene walked past, it would pin her to the wall.”

Irene, who suffers with an enlarged spleen and kidneys and needs frequent blood transfusions, said: “We explained to the council that I’m not very well and that the ambulance can’t get access. It’s worrying to think that if I were really unwell and need to be moved by a wheelchair or stretcher, the ambulance crews wouldn’t be able to get to me.

A Newham Council spokesman said: “The council first received the complaint earlier this week. A visit by police and the council’s Street Scene Enforcement Officers confirmed that the vehicle was on private land and showed no signs of abandonment. It was found to be taxed and roadworthy. Police subsequently contacted the owner of the vehicle, who said it had been stolen, asking him to remove it. This failed to happen in a timely fashion so the council has now impounded the bike until the owner can collect it.”