A real-life Grinch steals families’ Christmas lights

Lisa Whitehead with her children Katie and Matthew and the couple of Christmas lights they have left

Lisa Whitehead with her children Katie and Matthew and the couple of Christmas lights they have left after all of the outdoor display was stolen from the garden.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Two Gorleston homes have been plunged into Christmas gloom after a real-life Grinch stole every single bulb and figure from their festive displays.

Both homes sparkled with bright lights, reindeer, and even a 7ft inflatable Santa.

But now passers-by can only look at unadorned brick walls after heartless thieves struck last weekend.

The mean-spirited theft has devastated Lisa and Daniel Whitehead and their three children who are appealing for the crooks to return their lights, while police urge vigilance.

Grappling with a stressful house move and redundancy they noticed on Saturday that their entire festive display had disappeared from the front of their new home in St Edmund Close.

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The illuminations - including the giant inflatable Santa - had only been up for a couple of days when they discovered they were all gone.

Mrs Whitehead, 33, said she was aware of other thefts in the area and wanted to warn people about the threat to their decorations, as well as shame the culprits.

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It comes weeks after the family moved to a larger property near their old home to help their disabled son Matthew, 12, who suffers from ADHD, and needs round the clock care.

'I felt physically sick when I realised what had happened,' she said. 'Because you don't put lights up for adults, you put them up for the children. I just want to catch whoever has done this and warn other people who may have decorations.

'These things do happen but you never think something like this is going to happen to you.'

Meanwhile the couple are working to convince their youngest child seven-year-old Katie that Santa will stop at their new address.

'Our little girl is absolutely certain that Father Christmas is now not coming to her because we told her he will know that we have moved because he will see all the decorations.

'It is supposed to be a happy time for celebration and it just makes me so angry. I know times are tough and people are struggling, we have been through tough times too, but to do something like this when they know it is for children is just low.

'I hope I can prick someone's conscience and encourage them to bring the lights back.'

Among the haul were strings of battery lights that were hung round the windows and across the garden, as well as the Santa which was bought second hand.

She said that it was possible that one person could have made off with their display.

Not to be beaten Mrs Whitehead is hoping to replace the festive trimmings and is scouring Facebook and bargain sites for offers.

Thieves snuck into the garden and took the array of twinkling lights overnight on Friday December 5. Mr Whitehead, 38, a delivery driver, turned the lights off at around midnight but discovered the next day that everything had disappeared and the Santa's cable cut, leaving live wires hanging.

It is not the first time the family have battled back from disaster having lost almost all their possessions in a house fire in Hemsby in 2008.

Meanwhile police are urging residents to be vigilant.

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