Thieves who stole couple's camera return the SD card… but not the camera!

Plane coming in to land on Barra Island
(Image credit: Greg Crawford Photography)

A Scottish couple who left their camera behind on a beach in Scotland's Outer Hebrides have been reunited with the SD card containing their photos, but annoyingly not the actual camera. 

Instead of handing in the camera and lens to the authorities, the thieves sold it to pay for their own vacation – but sent the SD card to the police, so the couple could have their precious snaps back. 

• Check out the best travel cameras – they're compact, lightweight but still offer a range of desirable features

While holidaying on Barra Island, Greg and Julie Crawford sat down to enjoy views of one of the world’s most unique airstrips situated on a sandy tidal beach. The wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr is thought to be the only airport in the world that schedules plane landings based on the tide, so it’s no wonder it’s a must-see attraction. Unfortunately, the couple was too distracted by the view to remember to pick up their camera – a Nikon D7200 with a Sigma 10-20mm lens attached. 

After realizing their error, the couple contacted a friend who works on the island to see if they could check if it was still where they left it – but sadly it had already been snapped up.

Weeks after launching a Facebook appeal, pleading for its return, the couple received a call from Barra Police station informing them that they’d received a typed letter in the mail containing the memory card from the camera – but not the actual device. The dishonest people who found the camera used the flawed logic that "karma" led them to it, and rather than returning it they sold the device to fund their own holiday. 

'We decided that we would keep it as it was obviously meant to be found by us and we sold it to fund our holiday," read the note. "We believe this was karma."

While this story doesn’t have a happy ending, it does have a happy-ish ending. Greg might not have been able to claim on his insurance, due to leaving the item unattended, but he was able to pick up a second-hand version of the same camera. While it did make the holiday a more expensive trip than planned, if I were the couple I would be so grateful to at least have the SD card returned. I’ve had cameras stolen in the past and remember wishing for the impossible: just to get the photos back. After all, they’re irreplaceable and the camera isn’t. 

"It was our second time back in the Outer Hebrides because we loved it the first time – it's an amazing place," Greg told the Daily Mail. We still had a really good time – and we'll definitely be back." 

All I have to say is, I hope whoever found the camera gets their own taste of “karma” and finds out how it feels to have one of your precious valuables found but not returned. 

Also, check out the best selfie sticks – an investment worth making before you go away so you get more for your money!

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.