In a heart-breaking incident, a mother has been left grieving after burglars, who broke into her west London house, took her dead babies' ashes.

The ashes of the twin babies, who died at birth, were in a small maroon box. On Monday (11 December) afternoon, thieves broke into the home in Castlegate, Richmond, between the hours of 2pm and 5pm (local time) and stole several items, including jewellry and the box.

Detective Constable Rajinder Chana, from Kingston and Richmond CID, have called the incident "a heart-breaking ordeal for the victim, who desperately wants her children's ashes returned".

"They are of no value to those who stole them, and we would ask that they be returned as soon as possible. Burglary is a particularly invasive crime, but this offence has been made worse by what was taken," he added.

The burglars allegedly forced entry into the property via a side gate and rear patio door, the Get West London reported.

Metropolitan Police detectives have also appealed people with any information related to burglary to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In a separate incident, another baby's ashes were stolen in the Northern Ireland capital city of Belfast on Tuesday night.

The ashes were in a plastic bag in a wooden box. A devastated mother, Claire Smallwood, told the Belfast Telegraph that it feels like she has lost her baby again, who was stillborn on 13 November 2016.

In a social media post, she said that the burglary had happened between 6.30pm and 9.15pm local time. "The sick and sad thing is whoever done it took Holly's ashes. The police believe they thought it was drugs. We are absolutely devastated, angry and sickened," the grieving mother said.

"If they have kids of their own put themselves in our shoes. It's hard enough losing a baby without having to lose her again in such a horrific way. You wouldn't wish it upon your worst enemy. Just do the right thing, don't hand yourself in, do what you want to, but just give it back. They are no good to anybody," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

Police Service of Northern Ireland are appealing for those responsible to return them to police.
Inspector Paul Noble said: "Understandably, this has left the victim extremely distressed, therefore, we are appealing to whoever entered the property last night to please do the right thing and return the bag to police."