Burglars smashed their way into a house and sat by the Christmas tree as they unwrapped a family's presents before stealing them.

They decided which ones they wanted to keep for themselves and then loaded them into the back of the victim's prized Mini Cooper and drove off with them.

The thieves broke into Caroline Jeffcote's house in Boscombe Road, Worcester Park, on Monday between 8.30am and 8.50pm.

They kicked down the front door of the house and found a stash of presents intended for Miss Jeffcote's family in Sunderland. She had picked some of the presents up from other family members and bought and wrapped some herself.

Miss Jeffcote, 40, said: "I had a suitcase in the front room that was full of presents to take to my sister's in Sunderland. They went and unwrapped them and took what they wanted. It was mostly alcohol and there was some cash my mum had put in a card for me.

"It's such a shame - people have gone out and bought these presents and then someone has just come along and taken them. It's so sad.

"They took both sets of keys for my car and then took the presents away in that. It's more than just a car to me - it's got sentimental value as I bought it just after a friend of mine died. We decided to go for what we dreamed of. That car was my little baby."

Items stolen include 24 bottles of wine, a GPS watch for running with and cash.

Miss Jeffcote added: "I'm a part of a wine club so it was all good stuff - there's probably someone taking posh wine to a chav Christmas party now!"

Police want people to be vigilant for miss Jeffcote's metallic blue convertible Mini Cooper as the car is distinctive and may have been left in the area.

PC Duncan Harris of Sutton's crime prevention team said people should be especially careful to secure their homes over Christmas as "criminals consider Christmas to be a time of taking rather than giving".

If you have any information about the burglars who stole Miss Jeffcote's Christmas presents or you saw anything suspect in the area at the time you can call police on 020 8649 0777 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555.