Kind-hearted cops have stepped forward to make a little girl’s Christmas a happy one after callous thieves stole and trashed her bike.
Officers from Seaham became Santa for the day by giving a signed Sunderland AFC shirt to 10-year-old Elise Brunning.
Black Cats fan Elise was left heartbroken after her BMX Muddy Fox mountain bike, which she saved up her own pocket money to buy, was swiped earlier this year.
After reporting the theft, officers managed to track down the bike, but it had been badly burned and damaged.
Now, officers have decided to give Elise a signed Sunderland shirt which was donated to Durham Police by the North East Chamber of Commerce.
Pc John Bowman, who is based in Seaham, said: “Elise’s bike was her pride and joy and she was heartbroken when she discovered she wouldn’t be getting it back.
Pc Bowman rang and said they had this shirt to give to a child victim of crime and he said her name came straight to mind.Lisa Brunning
“When we heard we had the chance to give her a signed shirt from her favourite team we jumped at the chance.
“Although we couldn’t get her bike back we hope this puts smile back in her face in time for Christmas, Elise has asked Santa Claus for a new bike for Christmas so we hope her Christmas wish comes true.”
Elise’s mum Lisa, 39, an administrator for Durham County Council, said Elsie took the theft and damage to heart because she had bought her beloved bike herself.
Lisa, who is also mum to Zak, five, and Bobby, 15, and is married to Scott, 30, an enforcement agent for Marston bailiffs, accompanied her girl to the police station where they were presented with the strip.
She said: “It happened in October. We’d been out for the day and, when we came back, Elise asked if she could play out, but I said it was too late.
“We know her bike was there then, but it was gone the next day.
“She was absolutely devastated, she was gutted.
“It was a big set back for Elise because she’s got a little friend she goes and plays out with and she has a bike.
“Elise has a scooter, but they can’t go out on their bikes together.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful of the police to do this.
“Pc Bowman rang and said they had this shirt to give to a child victim of crime and he said her name came straight to mind.
“When I told her what was going to happen, she was so excited.”