“Despicable” thieves target Christmas presents

tis  Liz Carlsen who had christmas presents stolen from her car boot.  (111214M6b)
tis Liz Carlsen who had christmas presents stolen from her car boot. (111214M6b)

GENEROUS Harrogate retailers have rallied round after heartless thieves ruined a children’s Christmas party by stealing all the presents.

Liz Carlsen, of Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library, loaded her car on Sunday night with gifts ready for the playgroup’s Christmas party, only to discover the next day on arrival at the event that they had been taken from the boot.

After hearing of the theft, the Advertiser contacted local retailers who generously pledged support and donations to the toy library in order to help cover its losses.

Mrs Carlsen said: “After the upsetting experience of having our Christmas gifts stolen, we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support we have been shown.

“We are so grateful to the wonderful individuals and businesses who have offered donations to the toy library, their generosity will mean not only that our children will have a lovely Christmas party, but also that they can enjoy sharing our toys throughout the year to come.”

Mrs Carlsen described arriving at the Christmas party early on Monday to set up, and panicking when she found the 65 presents she had loaded into the car the night before missing.

“It ruined the whole party really,” she said. “I was little bit shellshocked.”

She said she was sorry to see the children leave the party empty handed, particularly as the toy library had always seen the Christmas gift as a way to thank the children who attended its playgroups for their support throughout the year.

“It appears that there are certain people who feel that it’s their right to check out cars that are backed onto drives, to see whether they have anything in their boot that they can take,” said Mrs Carlsen.

Insp Bob Moore, of Harrogate Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This is an utterly shameful crime; stealing gifts that were clearly intended for the youngest and most innocent members of society is despicable.

“Christmas should be a magical time for young children and not spoilt by a heartless theft.

But when the Advertiser began spreading the news, local retailers were eager to offer their support and make donations to ensure children are not left without toys in the future.

For more on the donations, as well as information on how you can help, see this week’s Advertiser.

Anyone with informatino about the theft should contact North Yorskhire Police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.