A holiday has turned into a nightmare for a Tamworth family.
Linda Cork and Ben Nixon and their two young daughters were left stranded on the Mid North Coast, when thieves broke into their camper van while they slept, to steal the keys to their car.
“We feel pretty violated and a bit shaken up afterwards, but I am just thankful no one was hurt.”
“I keep replaying it in my mind … what if I had gotten up quicker?
“But we didn’t know how many people were out there, or if they had weapons.
“I’m glad our little girls are safe, you can replace a car but you can’t replace your family.”
To make matters worse, it was the first time the family had taken the camper van away.
They’d been enjoying a break at Urunga, near Coffs Harbour, with friends down from Brisbane when the thieves struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“It seems they’ve opened up our door to get the keys sitting on the bench at some stage during the night.
“I heard the car start and woke up my partner but by the time he came to, they drove off and over a garden bed.
“We chased them to the boom gates but they drove past, they ransacked the entire camping grounds – other campers had their stuff stolen.”
As of late Friday there was still no sign of the dark grey Toyota Hilux.
Ms Cork said the car would be “hard to miss” with a custom-made canopy on the back, believed to be the only one of its kind.
Their daughters’ car seats were in the back of the car along with a new barbecue and Mr Nixon’s work tools.
“We had to find someone who not only had a car big enough to tow the van (back to Tamworth) but we also had to rustle up two car seats for the little ones,” she said.
Ms Cork said the car was insured but the family still hoped it could recovered in one piece. The incident has also been shared widely on social media.
“The caravan park said they may have footage which could be helpful,” she said.
“We want to thank everyone who has been sharing it (the facebook posts) and getting the word around.
“A couple of Uber drivers in Coffs Harbour also distributed it to all of their drivers, it is really amazing how far the word has spread and no one has seen it.”
The Dark Grey Toyota Hilux has the registration plates BEN86N with an alloy canopy and awning. If anyone sees the vehicle, they are urged to contact their local police station.