Sunderland artist appeals for return of stolen photos

An artist has made an appeal for the return of irreplaceable family photos on computer hard drives stolen from her Sunderland home

Gill Rogers, from Sunderland, who has had all her family photographs stolen
Gill Rogers, from Sunderland, who has had all her family photographs stolen

An artist has been left devastated after burglars stole computers containing months of work and precious family photos from her home.

The crooks ransacked the house Gill Rogers shares with her partner while they were away, stealing thousands of pounds worth of goods, including cameras, computers, jewellery and personal documents. They loaded the haul into the couple’s own suitcases and then used their Citroen Saxo as a getaway vehicle.

And while the missing items will cost thousands of pounds to replace, it is the loss of four computers hard drives that have caused Gill the most devastation.

The 54-year-old, who is artist in residence at Gateshead Council, had months of work and planning stored on them, along with irreplaceable family photos including snaps of Gill’s late father, and pictures taken of her son when he was a child.

She said: “They took all our computers and all their back-ups. All my work was on there and all my photographs. Those are things you can’t replace.”

The house on The Oaks West, in Sunderland, was targeted between 2am and 11.45am on Saturday, June 29.

When Gill and her partner Lisa Rake, 45, returned, they found the thieves had smashed their way in through a back door, before packing the couple’s suitcases with their belongings, and loading them into their car.

“When we came back it was a mess,” said Gill. “They had just emptied all our suitcases and filled them with all our stuff and gone off with it in out car.”

And while Gill is counting the cost of her material loss, she is also coming to terms with the missing memories, as the four computer hard drives stored the only copies of her photographs.

“We had a back-up system on our computers so we thought they were safe, but that has gone too,” she said.

“Really we just want the hard drives back. We can buy more stuff, but those pictures are irreplaceable.

“It’s a very unpleasant feeling to know that someone has been through all your stuff and we feel very vulnerable.”

Gill is now offering a £200 reward for the return of her hard-drives.

She is also keen to get an antique perfume bottle, which is now used as a pendant, back and will consider a reward for its return.

PC Mick Murphy of Northumbria Police, who is investigating the break-in, said: “Inquiries into this high-value burglary are ongoing and we are trying to locate the stolen property. Anyone who has been offered any the items for sale or who knows of there whereabouts is asked to contact us with any information.

“The family has offered a reward for the return of the hard drives in particular as they have sentimental items on them, including photographs, which are irreplaceable.”

If you have any information, call Northumbria Police on 101.

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