A GRANDMOTHER is distraught after thieves stole £120 of Christmas decorations from her front garden.

Joan Lake, 72, has been lighting up her lawn in Ramsey Road, Halstead, for the last 12 years to the delight of local children, who visit the road every Christmas to have a look.

A week after the 16 flashing decorations went up, a 2ft polar bear light and a twinkling snowflake were stolen, after Mrs Lake received a mystery knock on her front door at 10.15pm.

A flashing train decoration was also uprooted from the grass.

Mrs Lake’s granddaughter, Jemma Jackson-Lake, nine, has suffered from bowel problems since she was three years old and had recently returned home after an operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

She had been given the task of switching on her grandma’s Christmas lights and had also helped attach the flashing snowflake to her late granddad’s rosebush.

Mrs Lake said: “I’m just so cross people could think of doing that sort of thing.

“It’s for the children and it’s for Jemma – people know she’s been ill for a lot of years. It’s Jemma I’m more upset for because of the problems she’s had.

“We had to bring her back from Great Ormond Street Hospital to this.

“It feels like an invasion of our privacy and it makes me feel very vulnerable.

“It makes me feel like I don’t want to do it any more.”

She added: “It’s pretty low.

If they had knocked on the door and asked, I would have given them away for £15. But instead they stole them.”

Tracy Lake, Joan’s daughter and Jemma’s mum, said: “Jemma has had an ACE (antegrade colonic enema) fitted in her belly, which we have to put medicine in.

“She had her tubes out on the day the lights were taken and it was her duty to put the lights on every night.”

Mrs Lake, 44, of nearby De Veres Road, added: “If people can be that low to take them, it’s quite sad.”

Her husband, Stephen Jackson, went across to his mother-in-law’s house after she heard someone knocking, but did not see anyone in the garden.

The family has not reported the theft, on December 7, to police.