A Leighton Buzzard family were left terrified after a baseball bat-wielding thug smashed the windows of their van and car in a bungled break-in attempt.
The shocking incident took place in the early hours of Wednesday, September 5, and is the third time the man’s van has been targeted.
He said: “I’ve been lying awake at night wondering how to protect my family in case the thieves come back.
“Over the last two years I have had my tools stolen twice and a brake fluid pipe removed from the van, rendering me with no brakes.”
On Wednesday, the man was awoken at around 1am.
“I looked out the window to see the hazard lights on the van flashing and a man standing at my front door with something in his hand.”
The dad-of-one opened the window and “absolutely unleashed” abuse at the intruder in a bid to scare him off.
At this point, the thug swung his baseball bat at the windscreen of the van and the back window and quarterlight of the car, terrifying the man’s wife and young daughter.
By the time the man had finished calling police, the thug had made his escape.
He added: “This time they didn’t get anything but they’ve left me with two vehicles out of action and my wife and daughter petrified.”
The man estimates that he lost around £9,000 worth of tools in the two previous occasions his van was broken into, leaving him “completely wiped out”.
At a public meeting hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway on August 28, Mrs Holloway suggested van drivers ought to remove tools from their vehicles each night.
The man said: “I think it is the most ridiculous comment. My job has changed now but when I was out and about everyday on my own, it would have been near enough impossible. You’d be adding an extra half hour every morning and every night.”
And he also feels residents will increasingly be forced to confront thieves directly due to a lack of police presence.
He said: “Personally, I think someone’s going to get killed. That bloke had a baseball bat and he was prepared to use it – whether he would use it on a person isn’t something we should have to gamble on.
“It’s intimidating, it’s threatening. I was lying awake at night thinking how do I protect my family if he comes back? At night, police are at a minimum 20 minutes away because they’re not in Leighton Buzzard although I can’t fault the two two officers that came out.”
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “We were called at approximately 1am on Wednesday, September 5, by a resident who reported that someone was trying to break into their van. We’ve made enquiries and an investigation is ongoing.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 19 of September 5.