Thieves with a stolen chainsaw ran after two teenage boys and attempted to start up the power tool after the teens spotted the crooks fleeing from a van they had just broken into.
The thieves struck in Wilsic Road, Tickhill, on Friday, December 28 and stole tools worth £1,000 from a landscape gardener’s van.
A 16-year-old boy and his friend spotted the crooks as they walked past the three men as they were climbing over a garden fence. They were chased by the trio, who were armed with a chain saw.
The boys said the men attempted to start up the power tool during the chase but they managed to hide in a garden and raise the alarm.
A police probe into the incident is now underway.
The landscape gardener whose van was broken into normally keeps his tools locked up in an alarmed garage, but was using them on his own land over Christmas and had stored them in the back of his vehicle for ease.
CCTV cameras captured three men around the van, with two seen breaking into it and a third acting as a look-out.
The gardener’s 34-year-old wife, who does not wish to be named, said: “Two boys, 16 and 17, were walking past on their way to the bus stop when the robbers were climbing over a fence after breaking into the van.
“The young lads ran and the robbers chased them while trying to start up a chain saw they had stolen.
“Fortunately the boys managed to hide in a garden and rang their parents.”
She said her husband has run his own business since he was 15, when he used to cycle to work on his bike, with his tools in his rucksack.
He has been forced to work longer hours to earn the money needed to replace his stolen tools, which include a hedge trimmer and a blower vac.
Two years ago tools were stolen from his van while he was working in Todwick, Rotherham.
His wife said: “My husband is very angry, he has worked hard all his life and for people to just walk on our drive and steal his property is really hurtful. He now has to work longer hours to earn more to replace his tools, so therefore seeing our daughter less.
“I have felt very violated by the event, seeing people on our property and waiting at my front door really upset me. I am petrified they will come back and attempt to get in our property or steal the tools again.
“Mostly the tools are kept locked away in an alarmed garage, or chained up in the van. My husband had been working on our front garden over the Christmas so kept them in there for ease.
“If they had got hold of more tools then he could be put out of business by these thefts. He is a self employed sole trader so big losses greatly affect him. I’m on maternity leave so he is our main income at present.”
She said police officers responded quickly on the night but she feels more could be done.
“I feel given the potential violence associated with the robbery they could be doing more,” she added.
“On the Tickhill Community Facebook forum there seems to be something happening every week.
“In Tickhill alone in December the Jet garage was broken into, the Spar store had the cash machine ripped out the wall and windows smashed.
“The police were in the village on the night we were robbed as a bungalow had bricks thrown through the windows. I know of three other vehicles broken into yet the police class Tickhill as a low crime area.”
South Yorkshire Police said no arrests have yet been made.”
Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.