Christmas presents destined for sick youngsters at Great Ormond Street Hospital have been stolen by thieves in what has been described as a "disgusting" crime "beyond belief".
Up to 20 wrapped gifts were taken from the world-famous children's hospital in central London between Friday and Monday, said the Metropolitan Police.
The presents, which had been bought using the hospital's charity fund, included portable DVD players, DVDs, Nintendo DS games consoles, games and toys and were to be given to children in the intensive care unit.
Lord Sugar, Currys and PC World have offered to pay for new presents, with The Apprentice guru tweeting: "Disgusting that xmas presents were stolen from @greatormondstreet kids. Replace them and send me the bill to @stylfile."
The gifts were taken from a non-public area of the hospital, which has more than 200,000 patient visits each year.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said he found it hard to imagine a worse crime due to the timing and the victims involved. Speaking on radio station LBC 97.3, he said: "It's pretty disgusting really, isn't it? You can't imagine anything worse in a way: children who are very ill and at Christmas. And somebody's taken the time to buy them something to cheer them up and somebody's stolen them. So it's pretty awful."
Mr Hogan-Howe highlighted the importance of such presents and how much they would be appreciated by ill children unable to leave the confines of their hospital ward.
"Fourteen DVD players have been taken. I imagine what it is, is that even when you're very ill you can still look at a DVD player or something you want to look at. So it seems to me they are the ideal gifts for children who aren't very well and are trapped in a hospital at Christmas. Yet someone has thought it's a good idea to take them," he said.
Inspector Neal Anderson said: "To steal presents that were supposed to be for children too sick to be at home with their families at Christmas is beyond belief. I would urge anyone who has information about the individual, or persons, responsible to contact officers so that we can try and get the items back before Christmas Day. I would also urge the thief to try and think about their actions and do the decent thing and return them."
Officers from Camden borough are investigating the theft. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 and ask for the CID office at Holborn, or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.