January 23 - British wheelchair fencing champion Adrian Derbyshire has claimed that his career could be bought to a premature end after burglars stole specialised fencing equipment from his home valued at around £30,000 ($47,590/€35,760).
The 38-year-old suffered the theft at his Warrington home at around 7.15am last Saturday (January 19).
The items stolen include six swords, spare blades, a special ParalympicsGB tracksuit, a wheelchair batter, and coaching aids used to teach disabled children.
His wheelchair was damaged in the raid while the equipment stolen was specially tailored to his requirements.
Derbyshire has been looking to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympics after an injury prevented him from competing at London 2012 but now he fears his dream may be over.
"I'm devastated," he said.
"This could be a career-ending burglary for me.
"Already I'm missing competitions because of it.
"There was a competition this week against the French I wanted to compete in and I can't now.
"They've wiped me clean out.
"I was unable to compete at London 2012 because I injured my rotator cuff during training six weeks before the competition.
"That was devastating enough and this year was supposed to be me getting back on track, looking ahead to Rio in 2016.
"I want to compete at the highest level on the international stage and I can't do it without my equipment.
"I need to get it back.
"I've worked too hard to have this taken from me."
Derbyshire has been disabled since August 2008 when he suffered a brain haemorrhage due to an inoperable Dermoid tumour in his brain.
The haemorrhage had caused chemical meningitis that left him with speech, balance, and stroke-like issues.
Shortly after, Derbyshire was spotted at a ParalympicsGB talent day at Brunel University and has since become Britain's top wheelchair fencer.
The items were taken from a secure brick garage but the base of a door was bent upwards to gain access.
Derbyshire is currently in discussion with his home insurance providers to see if he is fully covered for the losses but the absence from competition could see him drop world-ranking points and could lose his Great Britain spot.
Detective Superintendent Clare Ellis from Warrington police has urged people to make contact if they can help recover the equipment.
"While some of the items have been recovered, there are still some outstanding," she said.
"Without it Adrian won't be able to train and as it is specifically tailored to his needs, it is only of use to him.
"We would urge anyone who is offered such equipment, or comes across such equipment to contact police."
A 33-year-old man from Old Hall in Warrington and a 34-year-old man from Great Sankey were arrested the same day and charged with burglary.
They will appear at magistrates court later this week.
A third man, aged 35, was released on police bail pending further inquiries.
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