A paralympic athlete has been left distraught after thieves stole his running blade prosthetic days before an international competition.
Monaghan athlete Shane McLaughlin is due to compete in the shot put and discus throw events at the Berlin Open next week.
But without his 'running blade' his hopes of breaking into the national team with a good performance in the world-ranking tournament have been dashed.
"I'm absolutely gutted. This has put me back to the day I lost my leg. The blade is a part of my life, it is designed for me," he said.
"It's not worth two shillings to anybody else, it's good to nobody except me. "
"I haven't slept all night, I'm walking the roads since 5am looking in hedges for it," he added.
The theft is thought to have happened something between 8.45pm on Friday and 5am on Saturday outside Mr McLaughlin's house in Clonkeencole.
He said the thieves did not take anything else from his car.
The father-of-two, who had his leg amputated in 2012 after being kicked by a farm animal, said he could still compete in the Berlin competition with his usual prosthetic but that it would hamper his chances of climbing the world rankings, needed if he hopes to compete for Ireland in the Paralympics in Rio next October.
"At this present minute, I'm speaking to my coach and I'm telling him that I'm thinking of quitting."
"What's the point of working so hard every day of the week to try to achieve something and then this happens?"
Garda have appealed for any information about the theft of the carbon fibre prosthetic, and said that they are seeking its safe return.
“The blade is a custom fit for the injured party and is of no use to any other person,” a post on the An Garda Siochana Facebook page said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monaghan Garda station on 04777200 or the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.
Additional reporting: Belfast Telegraph