A 'HEARTBROKEN' mum is asking for donations after thieves broke into her home and stole the presents she had bought for her two sons.

Zoe Hickman, from Farnworth, had acted early to buy gifts for her boys Charlie, four, and Bobby, seven, but was shocked when they returned home to find a back window smashed and all of their gifts gone.

It was another blow for the 23-year-old and was particularly difficult as the raiders rifled through a "memory box" of items made to honour daughter Matilda who was born stillborn in the run up to Christmas last year. The thieves also pilfered jewellery, an iPad, a games console and even took food out of the fridge.

Speaking about finding out about the burglary, Ms Hickman said: "It was very frustrating and upsetting.

"I don't know why anyone would do it, especially when I have children and in the run up to Christmas. It's really been devastating for us."

The family arrived home on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 12, after Ms Hickman had picked up Charlie from school and the first thing she remembers is going to hang out the washing.

But her son, who had been the first to run into the house, started shouting and it was then that she went into the back room to see the smashed window.

In the wake of the break-in, Ms Hickman's sister set up a page on charity website GoFundMe, which has already raised more than £300 to replace the gifts.

She said she made the decision after seeing similar fundraisers and has put a target of £800 on the page in an effort to cover the costs of all the items taken.

"I have heard quite a lot about GoFundMe but I have been really surprised by how many people have got in touch and asked to help," she said.

"I have had loads of people sending me messages asking for her address so that they can send her stuff, donations or presents for the boys."

Anyone who is interested in donating to the fundraiser or getting in contact with Holly in order to send over a present should visit: www.gofundme.com/f/burgled-so-close-to-christmas.