MOMENTS after a girl unwrapped a prized Christmas present, it was stolen by a heartless thief.

The 13-year-old had just taken the paper off her white and purple Jasmine mountain bike and propped it up outside her home in Fellowes Way, Stevenage.

She went inside to ask for help lowering the bicycle seat and when she came back out, the bike had disappeared. Tracks across grass show the offender made off in the direction of Green Close.

It happened at 3.20pm on Tuesday.

PC Dale Morris said: “We are hoping to speak to a man who was seen near the address shortly before the bike went missing. He could be a crucial witness to what happened.

“He’s described as being a white man in his late teens to early 20s, medium build, wearing a blue hooded top and grey tracksuit bottoms. He also had a small beard and moustache.”

He added: “This little girl had only just opened her present – a bit later than normal because her mum was in hospital having a baby.

“She was really excited to get the bike – and of course is absolutely devastated that it has been taken.

“The bike was quite distinctive with a pink seat with a shooting star going across it. Can you help get it back?

“If you have any information at all, please get in touch by ringing the non emergency number 101 quoting crime reference E1/11/8684. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting the same reference.”