It was one of the ways he felt able to live an independent life.

But now thieves have stolen Robin Allen’s mobility lifeline.

Despite having cerebral palsy, the 22-year-old student has been determined not to let the condition slow him down. Robin was regularly seen on his specially adapted trike which he used to get to and from lectures along with using it for shopping and other errands.

Now he says he has been left stranded after thieves stole the £650 trike while he was giving a presentation to course tutors.

Robin, whose condition makes it difficult for him to balance, said the theft has left him without a valuable lifeline.

He said: “They just could not know what it was they were stealing. I don’t see how it would be of any use to anyone else and it couldn’t be ridden by an able-bodied person easily. It really was my way of getting about, my independence has been taken away.”

Robin, who is in his third year of a sports journalism degree at Southampton Solent University, added: “I had just done my presentation, which hadn’t gone very well, and I had this feeling that something was wrong. When I got to where I had left the trike locked there was another one in its place and just my lock left there.”

Hampshire police confirmed they are looking into the theft and had been studying CCTV footage of the area around Guildhall Square from where the bike was stolen between 11.55am and 3pm on January 29.

Robin said: “I would ask whoever took it to please return it to a police station or somewhere I could get it back. It really was the only way I used to get about so I am having to get taxis everywhere as a result.”

Anyone with any information about the theft is asked to contact PC Samantha O’Hanlon from the Southampton Central Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 101.