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Rugby league star Rob Burrow’s wheelchair-accessible van vandalised

Vehicle belonging to motor neurone disease fundraiser was targeted on Friday evening in West Yorkshire

Rob Burrow played for Leeds Rhinos from 2001 to 2017. In 2019 he revealed he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

The former rugby league star Rob Burrow’s wheelchair accessible van was vandalised while his family were out for a Christmas meal, his father has said.

Geoff Burrow said his son, who played for Leeds Rhinos between 2001 and 2017, had been out in Castleford, West Yorkshire, on Friday when the vehicle was targeted.

“They made quite a lot of deep scratches on the back of the van where we wheel Rob in on the ramp,” he said.

He described the culprits as “cowards”. He son revealed in 2019 that he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease and has since become a fundraiser for the disease.

The family had been out for an evening meal at the Rockello restaurant in the Glasshoughton area and found the damage at about 9pm.

Following a tweet sent by Rob’s father, the family said they had been inundated with offers to pay for the repairs and businesses willing to carry out the work for free.

His tweet read: “Well oh well – my family went out, with my wonderful son Rob, for a lovely meal at Rockello’s in Glasshoughton Castleford tonight.

“Unfortunately a disgrace of a person decided to scratch all over Rob’s disability van, how low are some people hey!”

The former Lancashire rugby star Paul Sculthorpe MBE was among those to respond to the tweet.

“Some people have no morals in life Geoff, karma will catch up with them,” he said.

“You, your family and that legend of a son just keep showing the way and inspiring. Have a lovely Christmas.”

Garry Willis, the former assistant manager for Wakefield AFC women, said the damage was “disgraceful” and told Burrow: “Geoff if I hear anything around the village I’ll get in touch mate. Don’t let it spoil your Christmas hope you have a great one mate.”

Speaking to the BBC, Geoff Burrow said: “How anybody can do anything like that, it clearly had a disability sign on it and Rob’s disability badges on the front.

“The outpouring of kindness shows you that there’s more nice people than scumbags like this person, but we could have done without it – we’re going through enough without having to deal with this.”

He said the vehicle was parked near the restaurant and was not obstructing any driveways or on any yellow lines.

“How could someone do it to a disability van, how they sleep is their problem I suppose.”

West Yorkshire police has been approached for comment.


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