A burglar who targeted a family home in daylight and stole items worth up to £10,000 was caught by CCTV cameras.
The man broke into a property on Chorley Old Road, Whitttle-le-Woods, and took a haul of jewellery, including wedding and engagement rings, as well as computers, iPods and even unopened birthday cards for a three-year-old girl.
The burglar was caught on the family’s CCTV cameras - and they hope the footage can be used to bring him to justice.
Nicola Johnstone, 35, said: “I’m glad we did have the cameras because we saw the man who did it.”
The burglary happened when Nicola had gone to a play centre with her two children, Jolie, five, and Daisy, three, on Friday, August 8.
The CCTV footage shows a man walked past their house on the opposite side of the road, then came back and walked up their drive at around 1.15pm.
He knocked on the front door, before going round to the back of the house and smashing a side window to get inside.
The man searched the house, both upstairs and downstairs.
He left after 10 minutes with his haul, about 15 minutes before Nicola returned to her home.
Nicola said: “I came into the house and there was glass on the floor.
“I heard a bang and saw the window had been smashed and there was a hole in the window.
“I absolutely panicked because I thought he was still in the house. I dropped everything and ran out of the house.”
She phoned the police and a helicopter was used to search the area for the man, unsuccessfully.
But when her husband, Brent, 38, returned home from work at Able Skip Hire in Leyland, he checked their CCTV system and found footage of the man.
It has been handed to the police but no arrests have yet been made.
Many of the items stolen had sentimental value, including a Bell and Ross watch worth £2,600 given to Brent as a birthday present, jewellery given to Nicola on her 21st and 30th birthdays, and bracelets made especially for Jolie and Daisy when they were bridesmaids at a wedding.
Also taken was £50 cash, eight tickets for Sing-a-long-a Frozen at Preston’s Guild Hall, new Nike trainers and unopened birthday cards for Daisy.
It was her birthday on Wednesday and a party planned for last Saturday had to be postponed because of the burglary.
Nicola said: “I just can’t believe that anybody would steal a kid’s birthday cards. It was clearly for a child.
“There were things that would indicate it’s a child’s birthday like candles on the side and ingredients to bake a cake.”
The break-in has had a big impact on the family, who have since upgraded their security.
They have shared the CCTV images in the hope that anyone who can identify the burglar will contact the police. And they particularly want a dog walker seen passing their house at around the same time to come forward, as they may have seen the burglar.
Nicola added: “It was really scary knowing someone had been in the house.
“He had taken everything out of the drawers and there were glass particles everywhere.
“He had been in the children’s bedrooms and by the side of the bed.
“I can’t sleep now without the light on.”
Police are also investigating an attempted burglary at a house on Church Hill last Monday, but it is not known if they are connected.
They were called at 9.15am to say a man had knocked on the front door and then tried to force open a window at the back of the house a few minutes later.
He was disturbed by someone in the house and ran away.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.