A burglar who stole a Bradford family’s Christmas presents was foiled by a vigilant neighbour who saw where the goods had been stashed and returned them.

Ben Exley and his partner Natalie Potter, of Holroyd Hill, Wibsey, had been looking forward to their first Christmas with their five-month-old son, Tyler.

But the burglar stole all the presents from beneath their Christmas tree and even Tyler’s clothes and nappies, along with jewellery and cash cards.

The couple were distraught and faced a bleak Christmas, until help arrived in the form of neighbour Michael Elliott.

Mr Elliot had been in his back garden, which overlooks the back of the couple’s home, having a cigarette just before 1am when he saw a man in a fenced-off area of land next to his garden acting suspiciously. When the man saw him he ran off.

Mr Elliott said: “I saw a guy behind some bushes and when he saw me he made a dash for it. The next day I mentioned it to a neighbour and he told me that a young couple just round the corner had been burgled.

“I looked over the fence and saw a bit of packaging which I thought was a bit odd.

“I called round to the young couple’s house to tell them I’d seen someone acting oddly and they told me all their presents had been taken.

“I went back, got a ladder and climbed over the fence and had a look in the bushes and found two bin bags full of presents.”

Mr Elliot took the bags back to a delighted Mr Exley and Miss Potter.

He said: “I just thought ‘what kind of scumbag does this to a nice young family, taking all the presents, even the ones for the baby?’ I was just happy to be able to get them some of their things back. I felt a bit like Father Christmas.”

Mr Exley said: “We are so grateful to Mr Elliott.

“It was our first night out since Tyler was born. If they had just taken the TV or DVD player I wouldn’t have cared as much but we were absolutely devastated.

“Everyone has been so helpful and, although we didn’t get everything back, at least we can have Christmas now.”

A 33-year-old man was yesterday being questioned in connection with the burglary.

e-mail: paddy.mcguffin@telegraphandargus.co.uk