An artist has launched an appeal after a thief stole children’s Christmas presents.

Ben Simpson, known professionally as Doctor Simpo, has also pleaded for the return of his thick, vintage Santa outfit, which was stolen along with the presents from his car.

All were in a suitcase when the eye-catching gold Ford Granada car was stolen.

Ben, of Holmfirth, was left heartbroken when he discovered the car had been stolen from Hightown Lane at around 8.30am on Monday. The presents - some £300 worth of vintage joke toys - were due to be given by him in his Santa outfit to pupils at South Crosland C of E Junior School where he has been working.

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Although the car was found later that day by police in Holmbridge, the suitcase had been taken.

Ben, 33, said: “I was so saddened when I realised what had happened.

“I don’t know why someone would have taken such a recognisable car in the first place.

Police recover the stolen Ford Granada

“But I don’t know what would possess someone to run off with the suitcase, which is an old, green coloured one.

“All the toys are from my old joke shop in Brighton and the Santa outfit is a 1980s one. Both you just can’t find anymore and they will be easy to spot if the person who stole them tries to sell them on.

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“It’s such a shame because I’d already shown the children some of the toys to give them a taste of what they could win this Thursday when I’ll be deciding who has created the best Christmas drawings.”

Now Ben has launched a poster and Twitter campaign to try get the items back in time to give to the pupils.

“I hope it encourages people to look out for the items, which the person will probably try sell quickly and cheaply.”

West Yorkshire Police are investigating the theft.

Anyone with any information about the car, presents and Santa outfit theft should call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

In unrelated investigations, police would like to speak to the people pictured in the image gallery below. The people pictured in the images may be witnesses as well as suspects. If you recognise anyone, contact police on 101 quoting the reference number on the image caption.