Operation Santa Claus: Police save Christmas for mother-of-four after force helps replace family's stolen presents

Todd family left devastated by theft of Christmas presents from grandmother's houseBurglars also took money family had saved
to help pay for grandmother's funeralPolice officers involved with case were so touched by family's plight they helped raise money to buy replacement gifts



18:27 GMT, 24 December 2012

Generous police officers helped save Christmas for a family-of-six after burglars stole their presents.

Naomi and Liam Todd, from Coventry, were devastated when they discovered that thieves had taken their four young sons' gifts just a few days before Christmas.

Officers investigating the break-in were so moved by the family's plight they stepped in to make sure the gifts were replaced.

Thank you: The police helped raise money to buy presents for the Todd family after they had their's stolen by burglars.

Kind: PC Darren Norton (left) and PC Danielle Fitzsimmons (third from right) were so touched by the plight of the Todd family they decided to help raise money for replacement Christmas gifts. Seen here with (l to r) Ethan Todd, Liam Todd, Kurtis Todd and Naomi Todd

The couple had stashed the presents at a home in the Radford area of Coventry where the late mother of Mr Todd, 35, used to live.

She died in March – but Mrs Todd has always hidden presents there to stop her boys sneaking a peak before Christmas Day.

Money the family had been putting aside
to help pay for the cost of Mr Todd's mother's funeral was also taken
during the burglary.

Generous: PCs Fitzsimmons and Norton have helped make Christmas a little merrier for the Todd family

Generous: PCs Fitzsimmons and Norton have helped make Christmas a little merrier for the Todd family

Burglars targeted the home between
3pm on Sunday December 16 and 9am on Tuesday December 18 – smashing
their way through a back door before stealing 400 of presents and a
large amount of cash.

When Ms Todd called police to report the theft PCs Danielle Fitzsimmons and Darren Norton came to investigate.

They were so touched by the family's plight that they started working to replace the gifts.

secured a 200 donation from the tuck shop at Coventry Central Police
Station before asking city centre toy shop The Entertainer to help out.

The store's manager matched the donation, meaning the officers had managed to replace nearly all of the stolen presents.

Mrs Todd,
34, said: 'When the kids found out they cried their hearts out. I just
told them that as long as we are together as a family at Christmas that
is the most important thing.

'We had been buying the presents since September because we couldn't afford to buy them all at once.

'This is the first Christmas their nan isn't around – it was always going to be a struggle without the shock of all this.

'They were obviously children's Christmas presents – how could anyone stoop so low But the police have been just brilliant. We really appreciate how much they've done for us.'

Mrs Todd said her family did not 'go looking' for help from the police, but thanked them for doing so out of 'the kindness of their hearts.'

The burglary even meant she had had to tell eight-year-old twins Ethan and Kurtis, that Father Christmas would only take care of their 'big' presents this year.

Festive spirit: PC Fitzsimmons admires the Christmas tree decorations with Kurtis Todd

Festive spirit: PC Fitzsimmons admires the Christmas tree decorations with eight-year-old Kurtis Todd

The home has now been secured but the family say they now plan to sell it because of the burglary. PC Fitzsimmons said: 'In this job you only tend to meet nice people when something bad's happened to them.

'In this case we've met nice people and been able to do something good for them – and we were more than happy to help.'

'PC Norton added: 'We both knew we wanted to help out straight away. We go out to a few burglaries but ones involving Christmas presents are quite rare.

'And when kids are involved you can't help but be affected by it and want to try and help.'

Sympathy: PC Norton (left) seen here with Ethan and Liam Todd said it was hard not to be affected by the family's plight

Sympathy: PC Norton (left) seen here with Ethan, 8, and Liam Todd, 14, said it was hard not to be affected by the family's plight

Karl Whittaker, store manager of the
Entertainer, said that as soon as he found out about the family's plight
he was keen to help.

Ms Todd, who also lives with older children Liam junior, 14, and Lucas, 12, says the generosity of the police and The Entertainer has meant they are only missing a few gifts.

Amongst the items stolen were Skylander figures, Halo toys, army figurines, an army tank and helicopter and Spiderman toys.

Sergeant Richard Markham, from West Midlands Police, which is investigating the burglary, said: 'Stealing children's Christmas presents is such a heartless and callous thing for anyone to do. We wanted to try and put a smile back on their faces for Christmas.'