A VAN owner looking out of his window at night was shocked to see a man removing tools and wearing a fleece he had also taken from the vehicle.

When Zak Rivers confronted Desmond Murtagh, he was told: “Back off, you’re insured, claim insurance.”

Erica Foster, prosecuting at Southampton Crown Court, said Mr Rivers told him to put down the tools. He became aggressive but dropped the items before walking off.

Near neighbour Peter Grace then confronted Murtagh who punched him on the arms and head, and pushed him against a fence. Murtagh, 28, of Blyth Close, Southampton, admitted theft and assault.

Judge Rosie Collins sentenced him to a 12-month community service with a six month curfew.