A SHOP owner is counting the cost after thieves took his car while he was stood just yards away.
Roger Armstrong pulled into the car park of his business, the Lodge Farm Shop in Barholm Road, Tallington, at about 1pm on Tuesday.
He switched the engine of his silver Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 off and nipped out to speak to his daughter outside the shop, leaving his keys in the car.
But when he turned back to the vehicle after just a few minutes, someone else was sat in it.
Roger said: “I walked back to the truck and realised there was someone wearing a hoodie sitting in the passenger seat. I then saw someone in a red hoodie sitting in the driver’s seat.
“I reached for the passenger door handle but they rammed it into reverse, nearly knocking me over. They also nearly hit the guy from the shop next door before tearing out of the car park.”
Normally Roger would take the keys out of his car when he parked outside the shop and would leave the car to lock itself automatically.
This time though, he thought he would be safe to leave the keys in the car as he was only jumping out for a couple of minutes.
He said: “I just walked four yards, spoke to my daughter and turned back around. It’s not something you consider could happen.
“Because I was going straight back out again I just switched the engine off, jumped out and that was it. They must have followed me or just by chance they had seen me get out of the car.”
Roger estimates his car was worth between £15,000 and £17,000, which doesn’t include the cost of the tools and fishing tackle on the back seat.
He is using a hire car until he can get his old one replaced, but Roger is worried the theft could affect his business.
He said: “For me it’s like losing my right arm. It will affect the business.
“We have had major problems with theft here before, but I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It was like Keystone Cops. I couldn’t believe it had happened.
“The people who did it are total wasters in life.”
The thieves drove off in the direction of Market Deeping, followed closely by a red car which Roger believes had dropped them off.
Police have warned 4x4 owners to be vigilant after a Land Rover Defender was taken from Station Road, Thurlby, between 10.30pm on Wednesday and 6.30am on Thursday.
Police community support officer Marlowe Bramich said: “Please be mindful to make sure your 4x4s and any other vehicle are locked and secure or out of sight and that your keys are not left in them.
“Recently there has been an increase in the Nottinghamshire area of this type of crime and it could spread to the Lincolnshire area.”
If you have any information on either theft, call police on 101.