An Uckfield blind man was unable to leave home on his own over the Christmas period because a mean thief stole his guide dog’s harness.
The man, who asked not to be named, was giving his dog some down-time at the Luxford Field, in Uckfield town centre, when the harness was stolen at about 11am on Christmas Eve.
He had laid it on a bench to give his dog the freedom play near him on the grass.
He moved away from the harness, never dreaming it would be stolen, to clear up some dog mess and was horrified when it disappeared making it impossible for him to be guided by the dog.
He struggled to Tesco to see if the harness had been handed in there and told the police too – they are in the process of reviewing CCTV footage – but yesterday there was still no sign of the equipment.
The man had to seek extra help to get home as the High Street was packed with Christmas shoppers and he was walking into everyone.
Unable to go out
He was then unable to go out unaccompanied for four-and-a-half days until a new harness was given to him by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
He said the harness cost about £100 and he was very upset that the charity had to spend that money to help him.
He wants to get the message out about the seriousness of what might have been intended as a prank.
“I don’t want to see the person punished but I would like them, their family, and others, to realise that a guide dog can’t work without the harness. It has been a pretty awful experience.”
The man said the harness would be a very unusual thing to spot in the home or in a car and asked people to look out for it.
It is hi vis with a metal handle and is marked ‘Please don’t distract me, I am a working guide dog’.
Have you seen harness?
Have you seen it? Do you know who might have stolen it, and where they might have put it?
If so please contact the police, or email firstname.lastname@example.org who will forward the information to its owner.
Find local organisations in our Uckfield Directory