Burglars who stole presents from under the Christmas tree of an Inglewood family have been described by police as "lowlife scum".
Senior Constable Phillip Rowe said thieves ransacked a home in the Carrington St area on Tuesday between 8.30am and 10am while the occupants were out.
As well as kids' Christmas presents, two laptops, a digital camera and tripod, a PlayStation 3 and games, some frozen chickens and assorted lollies were taken.
"They've searched the house and been through all the drawers and rooms and then left."
Mr Rowe said it was a particularly callous act, considering the time of year. "They're lowlife thieves, lowlife scum. You can use those words, because that's what I think about them."
It is understood the family has five boys, aged from 5 to 14.
But at least two good samaritans who had heard about the burglary had been to the police station with donations for the family.
"The burglary's the bad side of this, but these people coming in wanting to help is the good part."
One secret Santa is believed to be South African-born comedian Urzila Carlson, who could not be reached for comment.
Tina and Gerard Kennedy, owners of Inglewood supermarket Shoprite, also got in the Christmas spirit and donated a load of groceries to the family.
"A lady came in who was a friend of hers [the mother of the family] and explained the situation and Gerard just said 'Get a trolley and fill it up'," Mrs Kennedy said.
She said Christmas was probably the worst time to be burgled.
"It's just horrendous."
But she did note that Shoprite's customers have been generous with their extra coins these holidays.
"There's a Foodbank bucket in our shop and it's full almost every day, so people are thinking of other people."
If you have any information about this burglary, contact the Inglewood police on (06) 756 0900 or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
- Taranaki Daily News