A Polish father-of-four living in North Belfast has praised his neighbours for coming to his family’s aid after heartless thieves cleaned out their home on Christmas Eve.

Maruz Harkabuz, 41, who lives on Henderson Avenue off the Cavehill Road, woke up on December 24 to find his house had been burgled and thieves had made off with a television and the kids’ Christmas presents as well as wallets, purses and bank cards.

But the family’s dismay was short lived after word got out and friends and neighbours began arriving at the door with replacement gifts and food.

“We came downstairs and saw the front door and back door were lying open,” Maruz told the North Belfast News. “They had taken the TV and other stuff that was lying about including presents. We didn’t know what to do, it was a big shock.”

Maruz, his wife Monika and their children have lived in Henderson Avenue for four years and he said they had never experienced any problems before.

His daughter Olivia, 14, said it wasn’t long before visitors began arriving at the door.

“The neighbours came round to make sure we were okay and then started giving us sweets and presents. It was really nice. People were coming from all over – even people we didn’t know.

“We really want to say thank you to everyone. Loads of people were coming to the door and it meant we could have a good Christmas. It was brilliant.”

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed they were investigating a crime at the address.

“Police are appealing for information following a burglary at a house in the Henderson Avenue area of North Belfast.

“Just after 6.35am it was reported to police that the house had been burgled and items including a television, a printer, a wallet and cash were taken sometime during the night.

“Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Tennent Street police station on the non emergency number 101.

“Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”