A burglar taunted his victims by logging onto their Facebook page and gloating over the crime.

The crook said he planned to pawn their belongings and signed off with “regards, your nighttime burglar”.

Victoria Richardson, 42, whose web page was hijacked the day after the break-in, said the invasion of privacy made the crime doubly painful.

The home she shares with her husband Dan, 35, and their children in Marine Avenue, Hove, was raided between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

An iPhone, a Nintendo DS games console, a handbag containing a purse, cash and debit cards and a black Toshiba laptop were all stolen.

The next day someone logged on to the social networking website Facebook under Mrs Richardson’s profile and started leaving illiterate taunts - claiming they had left the television behind because it was not good enough for them.

One read: “on my new laptop”. The next said: “listening to music on my new phone feels so good.”

They then wrote: “i have the laptop , phones ok but a bit scratched itll do tv was rubbish so i left it ,ds was a bonuss now to the porn shop i gooo , thankyou toshiba is my favourate make”.

The final note read: “regards your nighttime burglar”.

Mrs Richardson, 42, said: “I felt very spooked. I have never felt like that before.

“It felt like they were rubbing my nose in it.

“They have been in your physical space, and then they are in your online space.”

She urged people with computers to protect them with passwords and make sure they do not stay permanently logged in so they do not fall victim to similar invasions of privacy.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: "Being burgled is traumatic enough for any family but for the culprit to apparently use their stolen possessions to publicly gloat over the crime is a sinister twist.

"As with all burglaries we are taking the matter seriously and a thorough investigation is under way to bring this offender to justice."

The crime came after Hove was named in the top 20 burglary hotspots nationwide in a survey of insurers on the website MoneySupermarket.

Sussex Police said between January and March this year there was less than one burglary a day in Hove and fewer than any other time over the last five years.

There were 63 crimes compared with 150 in the same period in 2004.

Citywide, in July this year there were fewer than half the number of burglaries there were in 2004, with 92 compared with 186.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Pollard said the policy of targeting drug users, who are thought to be behind a huge proportion of acquisitive crimes, and low-level dealers, was paying off.

He said: “These figures do represent a very joined up approach to this problem right across Brighton and Hove, which has led to the continued reductions in this crime type area making the area a safe place for people to live, work and visit."