“I FEEL like I’ve been violated,” said Janet Smith after thieves stole her motorscooter from a locked shed and robbed her of her independence.

The 63-year-old from Park North, who suffers with osteoarthritis in her knees, grand mal epilepsy and has two artificial ankles, was left devastated when she discovered on Tuesda morning that her red Kymco motorscooter - worth £3,000 - had been stolen after thieves used boltcutters to remove the padlock on the shed.

Janet said: “It’s broken my heart, it really has. It’s taken away my freedom. I don’t know how people could be so cruel.

“It’s not just the scooter they have taken but everything that goes with it. They’ve left me stranded.

“It wasn’t until I got my first motorscooter that I got my life back.

“It was my third motorscooter and it’s not even a year old. My other motorscooters have all been second hand and this was the first time I had a brand new one after I scrimped and saved for it.

“It means I can’t leave the house because I can’t walk far enough.

“I can maybe get as far as the bus stop but when I get off at the other end I can’t then walk to the shops and around the shops and then come back again.

“It could go up to 30 miles on one charge so I used to get up in the morning and pack a lunch and take my dog for a ride as far as Coate Water.

“It meant I could go to my hospital appointments and take my dog to the vets each week when he’s ill.”

Janet noticed that the motorscooter had been taken at around 7.30am, shortly before she planned to go to the shops.

The shock of the theft caused so much stress it brought on not one but three epileptic attacks, which nearly put her in hospital.

She said: “I have grand mal epilepsy, which is the worst kind of epilepsy you can get. It’s brought on by flashing lights and any form of stress.

“I had the first fit at about 10.30am, and then another one at about 10.40am and my sister called Homeline Care.

“They came out and helped put me in bed and then at 12.30pm I had another fit, which was the worst one and it was so bad that Homeline said if I had another one I would have to go into hospital.”

The motorscooter had been secured in a shed in the communal garden where she lives in Welcombe Avenue, after spending £1,800 to have the shed installed.

She used to keep the motorscooter in the interior communal area until new fire regulations meant she had to move it.

Swindon Council then agreed that she could build a shed outside her flat in order to keep the scooter secure.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team are now looking into the incident, and are urging anyone with any information to come forward.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We were called on August 5 to a report of a theft of a mobility scooter between 7.30pm on August 4 and 7.30am on August 5 from an address in Welcombe Avenue.

“We have gone door to door and there is no CCTV in the area.

“The local Neighbourhood Policing Team are continuing to investigate.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.