A DEVASTATED mum had to tell her children Christmas was cancelled ­— after a heartless thief broke into their home and stole their presents.

Gillian Jackson wept as she broke the news to her children on Christmas morning that their gifts had been stolen in the night.

Danny Dean drunkenly climbed through a window into the Farnworth home on Christmas Eve, Bolton Crown Court heard.

The 29-year-old looted the family’s Christmas presents, two computers, a mobile phone and a bank card ­— which he later used to buy lottery tickets from petrol stations.

Bolton Crown Court heard how when Ms Jackson had woken up on Christmas Day, she came downstairs and noticed that two kitchen windows had been opened and the front door was ajar.

In the living room she discovered that the gifts she had bought for her children, as well as cards containing money, had been taken.

Her bag had also been raided and she was later contacted by her bank to tell her that her cards had been used at three petrol stations.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Jackson said that she had saved all year to buy her children presents and had been “so excited” when she woke up on Christmas morning.

She added: “When I woke and went down stairs I discovered to my horror that someone had come into my house and stolen all the presents. And if that was not bad enough they had also stolen my bank cards.

“How could anyone be as heartless as this? I had to tell my children that there was no Christmas this year and we all started to cry.

“This turned to anger as I had to call up the bank all day and go to the police station. Because of this I could not sit with my family but had to arrange for my children to go to stay with relatives.

“I had no access to any money and could not go to a cash machine.

“The only lucky thing was that we had done a big shop so we had food in the house.”

Prosecuting, Andrew Mackintosh said: "CCTV footage from a garage showed a taxi pulling up and a man getting out wearing distinctive clothing.”

Police later called the taxi firm and traced Dean to the address where he had been dropped off.

Many of the stolen items were found during a search of the property and Dean was arrested.

Ms Jackson added: “Ultimately we did get some of the stuff back but there is still loads of stuff missing. I think this will be part of my Christmas for years to come.”

Since the burglary Ms Jackson said she and her family had been very concerned about going out of the house and that she had had trouble sleeping ­— often waking in the early hours wondering if someone has broken in.

Dean, of Fearnhead Close, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to burglary.

Defending, Andrew McInnes said Dean was not a career burglar and that the offence was “out of character”, adding that the defendant was "heavily intoxicated" at the time.

He said he was thoroughly ashamed of his actions.

Sentencing Dean to two years and three months in prison, Judge Timothy Stead described his crime as “as mean an offence as I have come across in some time”.

“This family’s Christmas was ruined and the ruin went on the entire holiday period,” he added.