A BURGLAR who targeted the home of seven children to steal a costly vehicle navigation device has left his young victims plagued by nightmares.

A double-glazed window has had to be boarded up after it was smashed in broad daylight - creating a constant reminder to the youngsters that a stranger has forcibly entered their house.

Their mum, Tracey Newbold, said she "gutted" by the break-in, and warned others not to leave valuables on view.

She is also desperate to get the navigation system back. Explaining that it provides directions to any destination, Tracey said it was a lifeline, as it took the stress out of driving seven children around.

"I took the children to school at 8.45am on Friday then came back to find my double glazed window had been smashed," said Tracey, of Pottery Lane, York. "My neighbour said he heard me drive off. Four minutes after, he heard a smashing sound. They obviously knew I was going out."

She said the burglar had to scale a secure six-feet high fence at the rear of the property to get in and tried to force open the back door and window before breaking it.

Tracey, whose children range in age from one to ten, said: "My kids have been having nightmares.

"I keep thinking they are going to break in again. My twins are four and keep waking up. One wouldn't lie in his own bed. He says he hears things. My seven-year-old daughter ran upstairs crying and my nine-year-old keeps saying there are noises at the window.

"I always thought I would be all right because we have sturdy doors. I didn't think they would smash the double glazing and crawl in.

"I recently got a loan for a new minibus. With the rest of the money I got a navigation system for £400. It was the only thing they took. I am gutted. I have wanted one for a while. I am not a nervous driver, but if I had something like that it would make life so much easier.

"The whole point of having a vehicle is about taking the kids out." Tracey believes the burglar will have sold the device on and is appealing for anyone who knows anything to contact the police.

"I know there will be someone somewhere now buying it on the cheap. I really want it back. I am not bothered if they leave it on the doorstep," she said.

Anyone with information should phone York Police on 0845 6060247.

Updated: 10:20 Wednesday, July 06, 2005