GRIEF over the death of a close friend turned into despair for a Corowa mother when she discovered she’d been robbed of more than $1600 worth of camping equipment.
Kristy Tinker had no option but to sleep on her couch with her double mattress among the items stolen from her riverside campsite.
A chair, camping light, air mattress and three swags were also stolen.
Ms Tinker who has cystic fibrosis, daughter Rebecca, 15, and son Josh, 11, planned to camp at the picturesque Richardson’s Bend near Barnawartha for the whole of January.
But what should have been a relaxing holiday was thrown into turmoil a week in, with news a close friend of Ms Tinker had been diagnosed with cancer.
The family made daily trips into Wodonga to visit the woman who died on Friday two weeks ago.
The loss devastated Ms Tinker and her health has steadily gone downhill since the news her friend had cancer.
But her grief turned into disbelief yesterday morning when she returned to a bare campsite after spending Tuesday and Wednesday night at home.
“I’m distraught, I can’t put it into words,” Ms Tinker said, fighting back tears.
“If these people are going to steal I think they need to be punished by having their hands cut off.
“How dare they.
“I can’t afford to replace this stuff.
“The people who did this need to know what I was going through.”
Police told the Tinker family they would be unlikely to help catch the thieves because the tent from which one swag was taken was not a flat surface and couldn’t reveal fingerprints.
A group of people who were camping down river from the Tinkers have since left while a woman camping upstream wasn’t at her campsite yesterday.
Ms Tinker said she wouldn’t return to the camping spot or ever leave her campsite again, even to go to the shops for five minutes.
“We were planning on staying over the weekend but now we’re packing up today,” she said.