Crooks tore open Xmas presents during Havering burglary

“My biggest mistake was leaving the presents on show by the window,” said one of this week’s burglary victims in Havering.

“If I was to do things again I’d hide them away upstairs. But you don’t think about it at the time.”

The insurance broker and his wife found their Main Road home ransacked by ruthless crooks on Monday, who had spied a pile of presents nestled underneath a Christmas tree.

The audacious thieve struck in broad daylight – some time between 10.30am and 3pm - and had shimmied in through tiny, fixed bathroom window which they had broken.

The victims, who asked not to be named, found their presents torn open and damaged by the thieves - though none taken - and the rest of the home ransacked.

“The place looked like a scene from a police drama,” said the man, 57. “There were clothes everywhere. It took us a day to find out exactly what they’d taken.”

The thieves slashed a painting the woman, an amateur artist, had done before stealing another.

Most Read

They had also callously punched holes in every seat of the couple’s white leather sofa - probably with a chisel.

Bafflingly, the burglars left three laptops, a small flatscreen TV, and a Nintendo Wii games console, at the five bedroom property, preferring jewellery, watches and an iPod, as well as a phone charger.

“My wife cried for hours,” said the man, “we didn’t have hugely expensive jewellery, but there were gifts I had given her over the years. We’ve been married for 30.”

Now the man is urging residents across the borough to beef up security at home.

“We always leave lights and the TV on when we go out,” he said, “but I’m considering installing CCTV and an alarm.

“I would really say, don’t leave presents sitting out in view. I think they were an invite into our house.”

The man went on to praise the rapid response of Havering Police and the scenes of crime investigator who were with the couple in less than 30 minutes.