SENSELESS thieves have stolen cherished Christmas lights from the front yard of a house on bustling Main Road, Exeter.
The brazen theft has dealt a shattering blow to eight-year- old Deacon Hill, who lives at the house with his parents.
Deacon is on the autism spectrum and takes great joy from the festive display each year.
"Deacon just loves them - he gets a real kick out of them," his mother Rebecca Edison said.
Ms Edison discovered the lights were missing on Thursday night after she poked her head out the window to see if they were working.
"I could tell straight away there was a big dark patch in the display," she said.
Ms Edison first thought a section of lights might have been malfunctioning, but soon discovered they had been stolen.
"As I looked closer I could see that more and more lights were missing," she said.
"I was swearing and cursing when I found out, because I just love Christmas."
Among the lights stolen was a multi-coloured Santa, candy canes, flowers and a tree net light.
"They've left me a few of the other lights, but racked off with those ones," Ms Edison said.
The incident has put a real dampener on Christmas cheer in the tight-knit community, as Ms Edison's light display is one of few in the area.
"I'm one of the only ones who has any Christmas lights out, so it doesn't just affect me, it affects everyone around me including my family and neighbours," she said.
"It's just horrid - a huge disappointment."
The estimated cost of the stolen lights is between $50 and $100. Ms Edison said she would not be reporting the matter to police.
"I'd just like them returned in good working order. If they suddenly turn up, I'll be happy."