EXPENSIVE camera equipment and photographs of around 200 nursery school children were stolen during a £3,000 raid.

Professional photographer Stuart Ainslie discovered the theft of all his camera equipment on the morning of his 50th birthday.

Mr Ainslie, a professional photographer from The Meadows, Billington, called the police after he discovered that his Black Honda Civic car had been forced into to gain access to the equipment.

Stuart said: “This is a huge inconvenience for me and I will have to re-do all of that work.

“I’m going to have to get replacement equipment very quickly and this will affect my relationship with my clients.

“Two of the jobs that I had images for on my camera were new clients as well.

“I have been a photographer for 22 years and this has never happened to me before.

“It’s an awful thing to happen on your birthday and it has given me a lot more work to do.

“Your 50th birthday is something that you look forward to and celebrate but this has just ruined it for me.”

The camera also had 2,000 images on its memory card including those from a three-day shoot.

Taken as part of the theft over night on Thursday was a Nikon D 200 camera worth £800, one Nikon Zoom lens worth £700, two Bowens studio lights worth £1,200, a £250 Nikon flash gun, Nikon batteries worth £60 and five credit cards.

A police spokesman said: “Between 8pm and 6.30am unknown offenders approached the vehicle which was parked outside the property in Billington and forced entry.

“They searched the car and stole a number of items.

“There were no witnesses to the incident.

“No arrests have been made and anyone with information should call 101.”

No one was available to comment from Toppers Nursery and Bright Futures.