Mower thief caught out by camera in victim's van
AN opportunistic thief was captured stealing a lawnmower by a hidden camera in the victim's van.
Shauna Ford, 50, of Hucknall, bought the £22 video camera on eBay six months ago.
She installed it under the rear-view mirror of her Suzuki van in case anyone damaged it while it was parked, or she had an accident.
And when her lawnmower was taken from outside a friend's house in Whitemoor estate on Wednesday morning, she knew where to look.
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"My first thought was that it had been taken by scrap collectors," said Ms Ford, of Lancaster Road.
"But when I got home I looked through the footage until I found this guy stealing it.
"I thought 'gotcha' – it is going to be very hard for the guy to deny it now. It is £22 very well spent."
Ms Ford had been to help a friend do some gardening.
They had finished mowing the front lawn of the house, in Reydon Drive, and had left the petrol lawnmower in the drive while they did some work in the back garden.
The video footage from the camera shows the thief – dressed in a blue and white tracksuit – ride past on his bike at around 10.50am.
He then turns the bike around, walks into the driveway and disappears, before walking past the camera with the lawnmower.
He walks out of shot, before coming back without it to retrieve his bike.
Ms Ford said: "This guy just decides to help himself to the lawnmower.
"He obviously has a look around, realises nobody is watching him and ditches his bike.
"He steals the lawnmower and runs off with it, and then comes back 30 seconds later, gets his bike and runs away."
Ms Ford had owned the red petrol lawnmower for about two years and thinks it is probably worth about £250.
She didn't realise the lawnmower, which has her postcode written on the side, had gone until about half-an-hour later.
"I was strimming in the back garden and I had shut the gate as I had my dog with me and I didn't want her to run out on to the street," said Ms Ford, who is currently unemployed.
"I came round the front at about 11.30am and I thought, 'Oh my god, somebody has nicked my mower'."
But she is now hopeful that the thief will be caught thanks to her video footage.
She took it to the police when she reported the incident and has also printed still images on posters which she has put up around the area.
"If I get the mower back, I get it back," she said.
"But I hope the guy is caught for doing something as blatant as that in broad daylight.
"He was pretty opportunistic."
She added: "I am hopeful, and the police are hopeful, that they will catch him.
"The police thought it was excellent and said the quality of it is really good – because it is very clear and you can obviously see the guy very close to the camera. It is not fuzzy or anything.
"I don't think there will be any dispute whatsoever if it goes to court."
Police say they are investigating the incident.
They urged anyone with information about the theft to contact them on non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.