Officers are appealing for the public’s help to recover a specially modified van that was stolen from Hackney.

We are investigating the theft of the grey Ford Transit Custom, that has been specifically converted by the Cariazo family to transport their terminally ill son Elijah.

The 13-year-old was born with a rare muscular condition called myotubular myopathy which makes it difficult for him breath and swallow.

Elijah survives with the help of bulky medical equipment that has required the family to use a specially modified van which took nine months to fully customise. This is required to take him to hospital for appointments and cannot be easily replaced.

Sergeant Adam Hunter of the Haggerston Safer Neighbourhood team said: “The Met takes every theft seriously, but this case is of particular concern to us due to the type of vehicle and the time sensitive nature of the investigation.

“Officers are based in the area and are well known within the community. They are conducting house-to-house enquiries and trawling through hours of CCTV footage to track down the van, but time is of the essence so we are appealing to the public for any information they may have.”

The Cariazo family was due to go on holiday for the Easter weekend following a deterioration in Elijah’s condition, however when they woke on Tuesday, 26 March, their car was gone.

CCTV has captured footage of two men breaking into the car outside their house on Loanda Close, before turning left onto Clarissa Street and left again onto Lee Street towards the A10 Kingsland Road.

The suspects are two while men, approximately 5 foot 10 and slim build. They were seen wearing black tracksuits and one was wearing a rucksack.

The van has one missing hubcap on the rear right-hand side and has a distinctive sticker for the wheelchair ramp on the back doors.

Elijah’s mother, Onessa said: “I am appealing to everyone to keep an eye out for Elijah’s lifeline, this is not just a vehicle, it is our road to freedom. Without it, our poor boy cannot see in his final days. Every day is an extension, and we thank God.

“This vehicle cannot be easily replaced and it is his 14 birthday in a few short days. We had hoped to take him away with his medical team to enjoy the surroundings of the countryside which he loves so much.

“If you see a vehicle of this colour parked up unattended or don’t recognise it, please report it to the police, it may be nothing, but we need everyone to keep their eyes peeled and thank them in advance, this means so much to our family.”

Anyone with any information is urged to call 101 quoting the 01/141980/24.

To remain anonymous contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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