Student's heartbreak after theft

A MOTHER has told of her anger after thieves stole her son's art portfolio and painting equipment – weeks before he was due to apply for university.Liz Tonkin, from Hasketon, said her 18-year-old son James McElhinney had been left heartbroken after eight weeks of college work was taken.

A MOTHER has told of her anger after thieves stole her son's art portfolio and painting equipment – weeks before he was due to apply for university.

Liz Tonkin, from Hasketon, said her 18-year-old son James McElhinney had been left heartbroken after eight weeks of college work was taken.

The Suffolk College student is four months away from completing his art foundation course and is due to start applying for University places.

Mrs Tonkin said the teenager was now facing a frantic few weeks as he attempted to catch up with the work.


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James was returning to his car after a night out with friends in Ipswich on Tuesday when he noticed one of the windows was smashed.

When he peered inside he noticed his art portfolio and equipment and his stereo had been stolen.

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Mrs Tonkin said he would give anything to see his folder returned.

She added: "James' artwork is worth nothing to anybody else, but worth a huge amount to him.

"We can replace the stereo with insurance money, but we cannot replace the artwork."

"He's so upset about it and I don't want him to lose heart.

"He wants to go to art college in Brighton, but he has so much catching up to do now."

She believed her son's artwork might have been dumped in a bin and urged anyone who has found it to contact Suffolk police.

Mrs Tonkin mother is also offering a reward for anyone who finds the items.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said a 30-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle and had been released on bail to appear at Ipswich Police Station at the end of the month.

n Anyone with information about the artwork should contact Pc Jayne Gardiner on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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