A Leighton Buzzard family whose outdoor Christmas display was stolen by thieves went from heartbroken to heartwarmed when a local business replaced their giant dinosaur decoration.
Natalizia and Francesco Capizzi and their three children were left devastated when their decorations were snatched overnight between December 7 and 8. The theft is one of a number that has taken place across the county in recent weeks.
However, Andrew and Lucy Joyce, kindhearted owners of Linslade Tyres, came to the rescue when they donated a new inflatable dinosaur to the family.
Natalizia told the LBO: "The children just loved the lights; it's the start of Christmas for them. They loved looking at the dinosaur when we pulled into the driveway.
"They were just heartbroken and couldn't understand why anybody would take the decorations - we ended up having to say the bin men had taken them by accident.
"They were scared that people had come onto their driveway and taken everything."
However, hope for Christmas magic was not lost!
Natalizia continued: "The new light was donated from Linslade Tyres - their mum had had her decorations vandalised. I put a post on Facebook, and when they heard about us, they wanted to help.
"It was lovely of them to give us the dinosaur and we would like to say thank you."
Francesco arrived home after 10.30pm last Tuesday, but sadly the family or neighbours didn't hear or see anything during the night of the theft.
Unfortunately, it also took place the night that the Ring Doorbell (door camera) app was down, meaning the family weren't alerted to the thieves on their driveway.
The cold-hearted culprits took the family's inflatable dinosaur, Christmas lampposts, light up reindeers, light up pine tree cones, tree lights, plug sockets, and extension cables.
Natalizia said: "I honestly have no idea why they did it. I don't know whether they did it for fun or whether they were going to sell them.
"I just think it's horrible because they were clearly up there for the children. My kids went to to school crying."
Natalizia told the LBO that last year there was a similar incident in Leighton-Linslade, while Bedfordshire Police confirmed that they have received a number of reports of Christmas lights being stolen from addresses in Marston Moretaine and the surrounding area this December.
She added: "I wonder if it's people who are part of an organisation. If it was just kids having 'fun', surely they would have just burst the dinosaur?"
Thanks to Linslade Tyres, the children were able to enjoy the magic of a dinosaur in their garden - this time with a Father Christmas riding on his back!
However, the little ones felt "too scared" to leave 'Dino' outside permanently this year, but he will be displayed in full glory next Christmas when the incident is behind them.
Natalizia concluded: "It was a really, really lovely surprise, Linslade Tyres just turned up at the door. I would have thought that if anyone donated something, it would be someone we know, but they were complete strangers. It was so lovely.
"Thank you to Andrew and Lucy Joyce from Linslade Tyres, and thank you to everyone who complemented our lights and supported us on Facebook."
Have you been targeted by Christmas display thieves too? Email [email protected]