FAMILY heirlooms and jewellery worth £48,000 has been stolen from a home in West Mersea.

The burglary took place at the house, in Coast Road, between Christmas and the new year while the homeowner was away.

Crooks ransacked the property and even moved furniture to the door ready to be stolen.

Police officers investigating the burglary are asking antique dealers and auctioneers to be on the lookout for the stolen items which include antique china and antique silver ware.

Items taken include brooches set with stones, gold bracelets, lockets, gold Liberty earrings, strings of pearls, a two-carat solitaire diamond ring, various watches including Omega and Hunter makes, engraved napkin rings, gold cufflinks, a Georgian silver port wine filter, designer clothing, Mulberry bags, as well as Ipods, an Iphone and camera.

The victim, who does not wish to be identified, said she was very shocked and every cupboard and every drawer had been emptied.

She added furniture had been moved to the door, ready to be removed but had not been taken.

Det Con Tim Harris, investigating officer, said: "This burglary must have occurred over a long period of time as there were a large number of items that were taken.

"The items have great sentimental value to the family and I would appeal to anyone who has been offered items to buy or has any information about who is responsible to contact me."

Det Con Harris can be reached at Colchester CID on 101, or information can be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.