A WOULD-BE burglar nearly ruined a family's Christmas after wrapping presents up in a duvet cover in a bid to make off with them.

But he was forced to ditch his loot after disturbing the female occupant while in her bedroom at the house in Brunswick Street, Thurnscoe.

The young man, who was wearing a woolly hat, fled from the scene at 5.45am on December 10.

People who had left vehicles at the Alhambra car park could have given thieves an early Christmas present after leaving goodies on view, too.

Chief Inspector Andy Hodgkinson said: "Officers carried out an operation to identify vulnerable vehicles and within an hour they’d found more than a dozen vehicles with items on display from presents and electrical items to sat navs, sunglasses and shopping.

"We want people to be aware, particularly at this time of year, that there are lots of opportunist thieves around ready to pounce and people need to take extra care."

Ch Insp Hodgkinson added that police would continue to carry out regular crime prevention operations.

South Yorkshire Police launched 'Operation Lockdown' in October to target house burglary and vehicle crime.

So far more than 700 suspects have been arrested.