A photographer for a wildlife charity in Leatherhead has been left devastated after thieves stole his caravan which contained "irreplaceable" photos on his laptop.

Cameraman Lawrie Brailey, 24, had spent the winter living in the Leatherhead countryside in the caravan carrying out an ecology and wildlife photography survey for the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF), based in Randalls Road.

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Mr Brailey had left the van on a remote site owned by the foundation in Woodlands Road overnight, before returning on Saturday morning to find thieves had driven onto the land and taken the £10,000 vehicle.

It had been stolen sometime between 4pm on Friday, January 13, and 11am on Saturday, January 14.

The van, a Bessacar Cameo 625GL in white and cream, had been Mr Brailey's home.

But the loss of his six-year portfolio on his laptop, which was not backed up elsewhere, has proved devastating for the award-winning photographer.

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He said: “A stolen laptop isn’t worth a great deal but for me the photographs are priceless.

“They are my life’s work, I am devastated and it makes me sick to think they have been stolen. If anyone knows anything, please contact the police or WAF.”

A gold Gerrard watch, an irreplaceable gift from Mr Brailey's grandfather, with the initials EM engraved on it, was also taken along with the laptop, a 13-inch silver Macbook Pro.

The thieves removed a gate on the access lane leading to the land, which borders the M25, and attached their vehicle to the caravan and drove it away.

The land is uneven and muddy, making it likely that the vehicle they used to steal the caravan was a large one.

WAF founder Simon Cowell is asking anyone who is offered a caravan for sale without proof of ownership to contact the police.

He said: “For a charity, this is sickening and beyond tragic as well as a huge inconvenience.

“We struggle for every penny so the theft has hit us hard.  The survey was being conducted to help us create something vital for the natural world.

“But the most important thing is to get the laptop and the photographs back. They are priceless for Lawrie and whoever took them should be ashamed.”

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said that since the offence, a member of the public passed on information to officers to suggest a light coloured transit van, which only consisted of the cab and the chassis may have been involved in the theft.

The vehicle is believed to have headed towards Dorking with the stolen caravan.

Anyone who saw the vehicle that may have been involved or has any other information on the whereabouts of this caravan is urged to contact officers quoting reference 45170004485.

Information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.