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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Author offers laptop reward
Laptop computer
The doctor's laptop contains research on disabled children
Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin has offered a 1,000 reward for the return of a doctor's stolen laptop computer.

The machine was taken from the paediatrician's office at the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Rankin, 43, whose eight-year-old son suffers a rare genetic condition, pleaded for its return.

The laptop, which contains years of research into the care of disabled children, belongs to consultant paediatrician Dr Zoe Dunhill.

Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus novels, is a campaigner for disabled people's rights.

He said: "It would be more valuable for him to hand it back and get the reward rather than sell it for 100 or so."

His son Kit was born with Angelman Syndrome - a rare genetic condition which causes speech impairment, learning difficulties, a short attention span and problems with balance.

Crime writer Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin has offered a 1,000 reward

Rankin said: "I was just shocked and appalled to hear that all her information had gone missing.

"I just felt it was crucial that she gets this research back before someone wipes it from the computer before selling it on.

"Five years worth of work is a lot of research to lose and if she doesn't get it back it will be such a waste."

Dr Dunhill, 55, said she was delighted by Rankin's offer and hoped the laptop would be returned.

She said: "I am just so devastated by what has happened and can hardly believe it.

"Although I have kept some information on disc there is some research which is irretrievable."

A Lothian and Borders police spokeswoman appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 0131 311 3131.

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