PARENTS who hid Christmas presents in their car boot got more than they bargained for when their vehicle was stolen by brazen thieves.
Jamie Geddes and Natasha Mackay left £60 of presents for their three children in their Vauxhall Astra to keep them out of sight.
But thieves forced the locks of their home in Bathgate’s Beech Road while they slept, snatching the car keys and making off in the vehicle.
The car was later found abandoned and the presents were gone.
However other suspected stolen property – including a nail gun – was found within it, suggesting the thieves planned to come back.
Ms Mackay, 24, said: “I just don’t understand why they didn’t take anything like the X-box. I remember waking up but I thought the wee one had got up and I told him to go back to bed.”
She thinks that may have disturbed the thieves, who struck between 2am and 5.30am on November 19 and also took Mr Geddes’ wallet and jumper.
It left the couple and their three children Ellie, ten, Kieran, four, and Jack, two, shaken.
“It bothered me,” Ms Mackay said. “After it, I stayed with my gran with the kids. Even when we came back, with every noise I felt like there was somebody in the house.
“The night before the break-in, we had every present in the car, but by luck we had just left a few things. I never thought about how it could affect you but it does.
“It’s just the fear of it, someone coming in to your house.”
The break-in was followed by a similar incident on the other side of the town, at Falside Terrace. Police believe the cases could be linked.
Sean Flannigan said he, his girlfriend Emma Hanley and their young son Aidan were asleep upstairs when the thieves struck on November 23. Mr Flannigan, 25, who is a coach for Armadale community football club, had his Ford Mondeo stolen.
“They stole strange stuff like a a jar of coffee and her iron,” he said.
“They took my car and coaching equipment, footballs, and marker cones. We were sleeping upstairs. I was up a couple of times in the night.
“They went into the living room where the TV and X-box were, but they didn’t take them. I must have disturbed them, they must have just grabbed the iron, coffee, and the wee man’s tablet as well.”
Constable Greig Muir, of Livingston Police Station, said: “Any housebreaking is a horrible experience for those targeted, but to have Christmas presents stolen at this time of year, as well as kids’ coaching equipment, is extremely callous. Both housebreakings are similar and our inquiries are continuing to establish if both incidents are linked. I would appeal for anyone with information in relation to either of these housebreakings to get in touch and contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information can contact Police Scotland on 101.