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Mother of terminally ill son pleads for return of stolen modified van

The mother of a terminally-ill teenager is pleading for the return of his specially modified van which was stolen earlier this week.

Elijah Cariazo, 13, was born with a rare muscular condition called myotubular myopathy.

He has difficulty breathing and swallowing and needs the grey Ford Transit Custom to get to hospital appointments.

The vehicle, which took nine months to customise, is big enough to carry bulky medical equipment.

Elijah's family were due to go on holiday over the Easter weekend following a "deterioration in [his] condition", the Met Police said.

But when they woke up on Tuesday, the van was gone.

Scotland Yard said two men had been captured on CCTV breaking into the vehicle outside the family's house in Loanda Close in Hackney, east London.

It was driven left onto Clarissa Street and left again onto Lee Street towards the A10 Kingsland Road.

The suspects are two white men, about 5ft10 and of slim build, police said.

They were dressed in black tracksuits and one was wearing a rucksack.

A hubcap is missing from the van's rear right-hand side, while it has a distinctive sticker for the wheelchair ramp on the back doors.

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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.

"This vehicle cannot be easily replaced and it is his 14th 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."

Sergeant Adam Hunter said officers are conducting house-to-house inquiries and trawling through CCTV footage.

"Time is of the essence," he added.

Anyone with information is urged to call 101, quoting 01/141980/24. If they want to remain anonymous, they can contact charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.