Student is distraught afterburglers take 'vital' laptop

A BALLYMENA student's degree is at risk after thieves broke in and stole her laptop containing vital pieces of coursework.

Julie Elder, 18, currently studying a degree in Travel and Tourism and is in the final stages of her course with just her dissertation and essays to finish.

However the acts of these burglars could have cost her this qualification, they broke into her house and stole three laptops including one with the final pieces of coursework saved on it.

Julie had even saved this coursework to USB two memory sticks for backup but these were taken as well as a number of other items.

Julie said: “They stole three laptops but I'm only really worried about the coursework. I had saved back ups of these files on two separate pen drives but they took them as well. I had two out of three essays finished and nearly 6,000 words of my dissertation saved.”

Julie was diagnosed with MS last February and has only returned the University of Ulster, Coleraine after being off with the illness. The condition means that Julie can only write small pieces of work at a time before she begins to feel unwell, making a normal essay seem twice as hard, she added: “I’m so distraught about what has happened, and knowing all that work and effort could now be for nothing makes me feel like giving up to be honest.

“I don’t know where I am going to get the energy to start again.”

To make matters worse the thieves also took a number of items that had sentimental value, they stole jewellery belonging to Julie’s mother that her late father had given to her before he died and they also stole her father’s wedding ring.

She added: “This jewellery is just money to these people but to us it’s much more than that, these things are irreplaceable.”

Julie has pleaded for the items to be returned, most importantly the memory sticks containing the coursework, she said: “I don’t hold much hope for them being returned but the pen drives aren’t worth much but to me they are really important for my course.”

A police spokesperson said that around 5.30pm last Tuesday, it was reported that a house had been entered and a number of items taken including three ACER laptops and two pen drives; jewellery including wedding and engagement rings; sat nav; Nintendo DS Lite and games; and digital camera.

Police are asking anyone who was in the area of Drumagrove Road between 12 noon and 5pm today and who may have witnessed any individuals acting suspiciously, to get in touch on 0845 600 8000.