Stolen gifts for hospital children replaced

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Christmas presents for sick children that were stolen from Great Ormond Street Hospital have been replaced.

Up to 20 gifts are believed to have been taken from the central London hospital between Friday and Monday, police said.

The presents, which had been bought using the hospital’s charity fund, included portable DVD players, DVDs, Nintendo DS games consoles, games and toys and were to be given to children in the intensive care unit.

The theft was described as a “disgusting” crime “beyond belief”, and prompted an outpouring of offers of help.

Lord Sugar, Currys, Blockbuster and PC World offered to pay for new presents, with The Apprentice guru tweeting: “Disgusting that xmas presents were stolen from @greatormondstreet kids. Replace them and send me the bill to @stylfile.”

In a statement Great Ormond Street Hospital said: “We have been overwhelmed by generous offers from individuals and companies to replace the missing items.

“These items have now been replaced by a long-term supporter. Thank you to everyone who has contacted us for their concern and kindness.”

The gifts were taken from a non-public area of the hospital.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, speaking on radio station LBC 97.3 yesterday, he said: “It’s pretty disgusting really, isn’t it? You can’t imagine anything worse in a way: children who are very ill and at Christmas. It’s pretty awful.”

Police are viewing CCTV from the hospital, but no arrests have been made yet.

The Met said the presents, which were not wrapped, may have been taken from the hospital in Christmas sacks.

Inspector Neal Anderson urged the thief to think about their actions and do the decent thing and return the presents.

The hospital, which celebrated 160 years this year, was highlighted at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, when many patients and staff took part in a sequence paying tribute to the NHS.