Dad battles burglar after finding him in his home

A father-of-two fought with a burglar after coming face-to-face with him in his house in the middle of the night.

Alan Preece was sleeping in his downstairs bedroom when he woke to find his front door wide open and living room light on.

The 46-year-old, who lives in Highley, near Bridgnorth, got out of bed saw the thief in his hallway.

He battled with the burglar but he managed to wriggle free and escape through his front door.

It was only after the 'surreal' moment that Mr Preece, who was on his own at the time, realised his car had been stolen off his drive on the Rhea Hall estate.

He believes the burglars entered his house through the kitchen window in the early hours of yesterday morning and had already rolled his car off the drive before he was disturbed.

Mr Preece said he was glad his 18-year-old daughter, Libby, and 20-year-old son, Ashley, were not with him when the break-in happened.

He said: "I woke up and saw the front door was wide open.

"At first I thought it was Libby coming back from college or her mum's because you don't really know where you are when you first wake up.

"But then I heard a noise and saw this bloke about to walk out the door.

"It was just surreal but I grabbed him, threw him up the wall, gave him a bit of hiding and ripped his shirt.

"They were probably surprised someone was sleeping downstairs but there's three of us living in a two-bedroomed house.

"He managed to run out the door and it was only 10 minutes later, after calling the police, I realised he had ran across the drive where my Vauxhall Astra is normally parked.

"I also noticed the TV had been packed up and was ready to go. It was lucky I'd taken my wallet and iPad to bed with me.

"Ninety-nine times out of 100 my two children are with me, and our pet Jack Russell, Meg.

"But Libby was at her mum's house and had taken Meg with her, while Ashley was at his girlfriend's in Liverpool."

Mr Preece, a quality control inspector for Brintons Carpets, in Kidderminster, said the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal was being hundreds of pounds out of pocket for doing nothing wrong.

"I can't get to work because the insurance won't give me a hire car," he said.

"I've had to get new locks on the door and pay £200 excess, as well as £100 excess on the car. I've just put the car with an MOT, which cost about £500 and if it's not recovered I have no idea what I'll get back for it.

"The most annoying part though is my golf clubs were in the car, which are worth about £2,000.

"I get some comfort out of giving one of them a few smacks but I just wish I'd hit him harder now.

"I've lived on this estate all my life, my mother and father live a few doors down, and I've never known anything like this.

"You live in a friendly village and think you can leave your doors open but I would urge people to take extra care and make sure everything's locked and hidden away."

Daughter Libby, who attends Shipley College, near Bridgnorth, said she was very proud of her dad.

She said: "My mum woke me up about 7am to tell me what happened and I came round straight away.

"I couldn't believe how my dad stood up to them because he's such a friendly person. I'm so proud of him."

Witnesses or anyone who has seen the Astra, registration VX06 KYO, are asked to contact Shrewsbury CID on 101.