A 103-YEAR-old Christchurch man fears he'll never go out again after a cruel thief stole his motability scooter

William Taylor used the £300 transport to get around near his home, visiting local shops and the nearby Salvation Army premises, said his grand-daughter, Julie Shields.

Since the theft last week, however, she said: "He's been very low and all he does is ask if there's any news of the scooter. He hasn't been out at all."

Mrs Shields said her grandfather, who served as an electrician during the war, had owned the scooter for a while and always parked it in a secure spot at his flats.

"They're doing up the grounds now and making the car-park different so they made a temporary shelter at the front and he parked his scooter out there," she said.

"Last week he went down one day and it was just gone.

"We were told it might have been taken for the battery but the person who did this probably gave no thought to the effect it would have on my grandfather.

"As it is, we really fear he'll just give up."

Mr Taylor lives independently at his flat, with the assistance of a carer and his family and until he reached his centenary three years ago was a keen bowler, earning himself the nickname 'The Oldest Bowler in Town'.

In 2015 he attended the Knyveton Gardens Bowls Club for the opening of their refurbished café by the then Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Chris Mayne. Mr Taylor took to the green with the mayor for a bowling session along with the club's youngest player.

Now his family are appealing for the heartless thief to bring the scooter back.

They say they did not report it to police because they feared upsetting Mr Taylor further and were unsure if anything could be done.

Mr Taylor, who lives on benefits, will be unable to replace the scooter because it was not insured, said his grand-daughter.

"They haven't just stole a scooter, they've stolen his peace of mind and his independence."

Dorset Police said: "We take reports of theft seriously and we would always encourage members of the public to report offences to us so we can investigate.

"Offences can be reported to us at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101."