Binmen apologise for tasteless wheelchair prank in Bedford

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Buffoonsish binmen have personally apologised to a disabled pensioner after getting caught red-handed clowning around in his wheelchair.

Instead of concentrating on emptying bins, crew members sat in the chair and filmed themselves racing around the courtyard.

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But unbeknown to them, a neighbour captured the prank on camera and gave the evidence to wheechair owner Tony Topa.

Tony, who had polio as a child, had gone out in his specially-adapted car last Thursday afternoon and left the chair in his car port at the gated William Sutton Court complex off Conduit Road, Bedford.

“I need the chair in a certain position so I can get out of the car and back into it. But when I got back on Thursday, the chair was right across the courtyard and I couldn’t get to it,” he said.

Left stranded, Tony had to call a friend and wait for half an hour in the car for him to arrive and move the wheelchair back into position.

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“A neighbour explained what had happened,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the photos.

“There were the binmen, as bold as brass, racing around in my wheelchair – and even having the cheek to film themselves.

“It’s just not the behaviour you expect from council workers. They should show some respect.”

The T&C showed the photos of the culprits in action to Bedford Borough Council.

It immediately identified the men responsible, disciplined them, and sent them round to apologise to Tony.

“They were very shamefaced. And their manager was lovely. I told him it was my 69th birthday and he came back with wine and chocolates for me,” said Tony.

A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of the unacceptable incident on Conduit Road and have fully investigated. The members of staff involved have been identified and disciplinary proceedings have been started about their behaviour.

“We contacted Mr Topa and arranged to visit and apologise. The members of staff involved offered to also attend with the service manager to personally apologise for their behaviour.”