A DISABLED boater blasted Reading Borough Council over what she described as a 'disability witch-hunt'.

Tish Roskams visits Reading five or six times a year on her narrow boat and enjoys strolls along the Thames path with her husband.

Mrs Roskams, 67, cannot walk unaided and has nine grab rails on her boat to help her move around.

Traditionally, the pair would moor up at Tesco to grab some essentials before moving further along King's Meadow to go for a stroll.

They would then move to Chestnut Walk to use the disabled ramps to walk into the town centre.

Mrs Roskams said: "I have MS and have needed a wheelchair for over 10 years. I get into the country side in our canal boat and have always enjoyed visiting Reading.

"Two things I like especially are being pushed on the smooth paths of Caversham Park and going to the town centre via loads of thoughtfully placed ramps from Chestnut Walk."

RBC recently introduced a charge of nearly £10 to moor anywhere in the town, even for a matter of minutes.

Boaters must pay in advance and failure to pay can result in a hefty fine.

Mrs Roskams continued: "I can no longer have a few minutes in the park or visit the centre without paying nearly £30 for the three spots."

"An able-bodied person could park in one spot and walk along the tow path.

"In Henley and Marlow you can moor up for a few hours without a charge but there is nothing in Reading.

"People are buying boats because they can't afford houses and some of those people will be disabled.

"It's a disability witch-hunt."

Mrs Roskams contacted the council and asked for an exemption or a reduction off the charges.

A council spokesman said: "The council has set a mooring fee of £9.50 for 24 hours. This charge is informed according to market conditions and affordability, directly compared to those charged by similar providers elsewhere.

"This is a standard rate and we do not offer a discount or waiver fees for any particular groups. As such we would not make an exception in this instance.”