BURGLARS stole an "irreplaceable" porcelain doll collection while their owner was lying ill in hospital.

Her devastated family came home from the hospital to find there had been a break-in and the dolls were gone.

The raiders had smashed through a ground floor bedroom before ransacking all the rooms at the house in Bank Grove, Little Hulton.

The doll collection is said to have great sentimental value to the sick woman, and the thieves also stole cash, a tablet, a laptop and jewellery.

The burglary happened between 8pm on Tuesday, January 7, and 12.30am on Wednesday, January 8.

PC Jon Shaw said: “This family were already devastated that one of their family members had been rushed into hospital only to return home to find that their house had been ransacked by burglars.

“The thieves have stolen collectables that cannot be replaced - the owner of these dolls had collected them for 20 years and they hold a great deal of sentimental value to her.

"She is desperate for them to be returned.

“If you have any information about the burglary please contact the police as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 8565250 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.