1. ITV Report

Church inundated with Christmas presents after burglary

Bags of Christmas presents for vulnerable children were stolen from the Church. Photo: ITV News Anglia

A church in Luton has praised the public's reaction after Christmas presents for vulnerable children were stolen.

Every year the town's The Salvation Army appeals for toys to give to families who can't afford to buy them.

But this year many children were in danger of missing out after several bags of gifts were taken in a burglary.

  • Click below for Graham Stothard's report

For 20 years the Salvation Army in Luton has been collecting presents at Christmas and giving them to society's most vulnerable children and families.

This year though, it almost didn't happen.

Ralph Walker, from Luton Salvation Army, said: A couple of weeks ago we got broken into here at Luton Salvation Army in the early hours of the morning.

"They got away with a number of toys, we don't know exactly how many, but at least four or five very large Christmas bags of toys."

More than 4,000 presents were donated to the church.

After they appealed on social media for help, they were inundated with gifts. Hundreds and hundreds of presents from all over the world.

They'll go to those who find Christmas, a particularly hard time of year.

Mr Walker added: "We've had presents and toys from around the world, from America, from Australia, from China, loads of people just buying these toys and sending them to us and in the end we ended up with just over 4,000 toys.

"And that just does my heart so much good."

They have installed a new alarm system, and have almost finished giving everything away.

800 families so far have benefitted from the donations, and with more coming in, Santa could be visiting a few more homes yet.

Mr Walker said toys were sent from all over the world. Credit: ITV News Anglia