The family of a boy with special needs has appealed for thieves who took their caravan, which is his "happy place", to return it.

The caravan was stolen from a storage facility in Co Meath and has a number of distinguishing features, which should make it stand out if it is put up for sale.

"It is Sean’s life, it is his happy place," his mother Fiona Sharkey Carroll said.

It is a high-end caravan and was only purchased by the family last year. It includes a large awning, as well as a special bed rail for children with special needs.

Other items were also inside it that are specifically for 15-year-old Sean. 

Fiona said he has Down syndrome and autism, is non-verbal and is blind in one eye.

Sean has trouble sleeping at home, but "he sleeps like a baby in his caravan. Everyone knows it is his happy place. It gives him independence. It is his life", she said.

The family, including dad Peter and sister Aoibhínn, 13, use their caravan to visit camp sites from March to November and their last trip was to a site in Northern Ireland over St Patrick’s weekend, just before lockdown.

"I have been promising him we would go away when the caravan parks reopen and they are opening on the 29 June and we have no caravan."

Fiona said the thieves were well organised and broke into a number of other caravans, as well as stealing some.

Their caravan is a 2014 Sterling Eccles Sport 586 with six berths. It is a touring caravan and its registered number is SGDST3ESWE0892114.

The family spent the weekend checking if other stolen caravans could be theirs, however she said gardaí traced the owners of those caravans to the UK.

She is appealing to anyone who has it or has information on it to "please get in touch, we don’t care who took it, we want it back in one piece. Sean does not have a quality of life without this caravan".

She said it can be left at a car park and if the location is given to her or gardaí, "I will go and get it for Sean".

Gardaí in Meath said: "On the night of the 10-11th June caravans were stolen from a yard in Gernonstown, Slane. Thieves broke into the yard and caused criminal damage to other property at the location.

"If there was anyone in the area during the night and saw any suspicious activity or can help to get the property back, please give gardaí a call on 046-9021445."