Cancer has not dampened British tourist Chris Burrows' spirit for travel and neither has the theft of his belongings.

While he and wife Jenny were visiting the Organ Pipes on Mt Cargill on Tuesday afternoon, their campervan was broken into and about $5000 worth of personal effects taken.

The couple, on holiday from Lancashire, were driving towards Dunedin when they decided to visit the basalt columns because "30 minutes up the road to go and look at something that's 10 million years old is worth the effort", Mr Burrows said.

But when they returned to their campervan the couple's credit cards, cellphones, passports, money, Kindle Fire and medication for treating Mr Burrows' leukaemia were missing.


The cancer is "pretty well managed" but one of its side-effects is severe cramps, which the medication controlled.

"I woke up in the middle of the night last night with serious cramps and nothing to take for them," he said yesterday.

The couple hoped someone might come forward with information about the theft and the publicity would warn others to "make sure you have got the really valuable stuff locked away or on you".

The theft had "come as quite a shock", Mrs Burrows said.

"I feel violated," she said.

"Even the fishing licence I had just bought and my bait, some dehydrated squid, were gone," Mr Borrows said.

The theft had caused the couple stress, but they were not going to let it ruin their holiday - their second visit to New Zealand.

Since the theft, they have had offers of help from the owners of the Leith Valley Touring Park, where they are staying and others, "but that's typical of New Zealand", Mrs Burrows said.

"I'm sure there's the odd nasty person, but I didn't meet him. He just stole stuff from our van."