A Border woman says she's shocked and upset by the "bizarre" theft of a dragon boat paddle she earned through representing Australia.
Nerida Millward has appealed for the return of her paddle, one of three taken from her central Albury property about a month ago.
The distinctive missing paddle, photographed by The Border Mail at that time, was among her Auroras squad equipment.
"I worked for three years to earn the right to own that paddle," she said yesterday.
"I worked really hard to get into that team.
"It's kind of like losing your war medals for me. You can never get them again, I can't get another one."
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Ms Millward, 69, said the incident occurred while she was away for three weeks and the person checking her garden put up the garage roller door briefly to gain access.
"Five minutes at the most, someone's just taken the opportunity to walk in," she said.
"It wasn't just right near the roller door, they've walked right in.
"It's quite bizarre, there's a lot of stuff in here and nothing else was taken.
"I was devastated; disbelief to begin with and then just devastation."
The nature of the theft, which has been reported to Albury police, "makes me think it's kids".
"That's what's distressing, they've probably just dumped the paddles somewhere," Ms Millward said.
"I would just like my paddle back, no questions asked.
"The other two, you know, I mean they're valuable; three back would be nice.
"But I really want my Australian paddle back."
She said the paddles could be returned anonymously over her property's wire gate or handed in to police.
Other dragon boaters on the Border and further afield have been alerted to the theft, making it unlikely the paddle could be resold or brought out in public.
Ms Millward, a paddler for 11 years, has been using a borrowed paddle to see the season out.