A bereaved couple's dream of moving into the cottage they have spent the past four years lovingly restoring has been shattered by thieves.
Helen and Ian Holyoak, who lost a baby three months ago, live in a mobile home but were in the final stages of completing work on the 400-year-old cottage near Raphoe in Co Donegal.
But thieves have stolen a caravan they had been selling to finance their home. The 22-foot five-year-old Avondale caravan, worth about 10,000 euros, was being sold to fund a thatched roof.
"We have been scrimping and saving making every penny last and this little caravan was our only asset," a devastated Helen told the Irish Independent. The thieves caused damage to entrance pillars, a gate, and likely the caravan, when they were exiting the property.
Moving into their new home with daughter Lilly (19 months) was the light at the end of a dark tunnel for Helen and Ian, who's second-born daughter died last October.
"She had a rare chromosome disorder," Helen said. "At six months I delivered her and she hadn't a hope. It has been a hard time."
The break-in happened in the early hours of last Sunday morning on the N14, four miles from Lifford in the east of the county.