Doncaster police are urging motorists to stop leaving their car keys in the ignition after a spate of thefts across the area.
In just one 24-hour period this week, thieves stole thousands of pounds’ worth of vehicles - and one dad was forced to stand behind his car to stop it being taken.
The incident happened at 8.20am on Tuesday at Windsor Court, Dunsville.
The driver of a £6,000 Audi A6 had left the car running on his driveway while he went into the house to get his son. He then saw the car moving backwards and ran behind it, forcing the would-be thief to flee through the passenger door.
Then at noon, on Doncaster Road, Stainforth, a delivery driver left the key in the ignition while delivering packages. He returned to find the van, worth £15,000, gone.
At 3.50pm a council worker visiting a client on Moss Road, Askern, left the key in the ignition of their £10,000 Ford Fiesta and returned to find it had been taken. The car was later recovered in Sykehouse thanks to a tracker device.
And at 9pm, a man driving a Peugeot camper van along Doncaster Road, Kirk Sandall, stopped for a toilet break leaving the key in the vehicle. It had gone when he returned.
Supt Eddie Murphy, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We have seen people injured in the past when they’ve watched their vehicle being taken and decided to take action. And one man on Tuesday had a lucky escape.
“The best – and only – advice is not to leave your key in the ignition and provide temptation for thieves.
“It only takes seconds to steal a car if the driver makes it easy.”