Burglars with a guilty conscience saved the life of a pet goldfish – after they smashed its bowl as they raided a family home.
The crooks forced their way into the property of Monica, 47, and Lance McGill, 49, in Wollaton, Notts., between 11am and 9pm on November 28.
They snatched a HP Compaq laptop from a table during the break-in and knocked a glass bowl containing goldfish Freddie on to the floor in the process.
But rather than fleeing the scene, the thieves had a change of heart and safely placed the pet in the kitchen sink after they filled it with water.
Mum-of-three Monica said they were stunned to find Freddie splashing around in the sink after they returned home to find their two laptops and cash missing.
The family are now appealing for the safe return of the items – which contain sentimental photos of their children growing up – and have offered a £300 reward.
Monica, who is mum to Quinn, 10, West, eight, and six-year-old Parc, said: “They stole a few other things but I don’t care about that.
“I just want the pictures back.”
“I’ve been taking them ever since my son was born, so we have six years’ worth of pictures. There are thousands.
“I’m not even bothered about the laptop. They can burn the pictures onto a disk for all I care – I just want them back.
“The more I think about it [saving Freddie], the more it makes sense.
“They’re just there to take whatever they can to make some money from.
“They weren’t there to hurt a child or kill an animal or anything like that.
“They probably know we have insurance for the rest of the stuff, but not the pet and that’s why they saved him.”
Neighbour Howard Brown added: “I saw the police van parked outside the home and wondered what had gone on.
“I saw Monica, who said they had been burgled and she had lost all of her pictures of the children growing up.
“They really want them back. It’s demoralising for them.
“She also said the burglars had knocked the goldfish bowl over, but saved the goldfish by putting it in the sink. It’s certainly unusual.”
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: “We are investigating this burglary and enquiries are ongoing.
“The offenders gained entry through a downstairs window and stole two laptops and some cash.”
Anyone with information about the break-in asked to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 767 of November 28.