Children's presents taken in Basildon burglary
Children's Christmas presents have been taken in a burglary described by an Essex detective as one of the worst he has seen in his 29-year career.
The family arrived home in Basildon on Boxing Day evening to find breakfast cereal turned out on the floor and their 55" TV and Christmas gifts gone.
Police said the theft had "virtually wiped out their entire house".
Det Con Alex Gartshore said: "I feel so sorry for them. To take a Hornby train set from a child is heartless."
The break-in happened at Beeston Court between 17:00 and 21:00 GMT on 26 December.'Heartbreaking'
Mr Gartshore added: "This is a very sad situation which has left a young family completely gutted and devastated.
"In my 29 years' service, this is one of the worst, if not the worst, burglary I've had to deal with.
"It's bad to be burgled at any time of the year, but at Christmas it's even harder to take especially when your children's faces fall when they see their presents have been taken too.
"We hope people can empathise with this family when we say this whole house was turned upside down.
"To return home and find breakfast cereal packets opened and turned on the floor is heartbreaking."
Police have carried out forensic examination of the house and house-to-house inquiries and are now asking for witnesses to come forward.
Dc Gartshore added: "It is highly unusual to see someone walking down the street with a 55-inch television so if anyone did see someone doing so on this housing estate, then they are a key witness."