Car stolen as driver tries to help lost dog

Bernadette Barber's battered BMW. EMN-180304-102959001
Bernadette Barber's battered BMW. EMN-180304-102959001

An animal-loving ‘Good Samaritan’ has issued a warning after she stopped to help a dog loose in the road - only to turn and see someone drive off in her car.

Bernadette Barber, 56, of Billinghay, had been heading to the shops but momentarily stopped when she saw a stray dog in the High Street. In haste, she had left her keys in her car and an opportunist passer-by saw his chance, jumped in, and drove off.

The windscreen of Bernadette Barber's BMW was damaged too. EMN-180304-103108001

The windscreen of Bernadette Barber's BMW was damaged too. EMN-180304-103108001

It ended up in a police chase, she said, finally halted in Winchelsea Road, Ruskington, where a man was arrested, but the vehicle suffered serious damage.

Mrs Barber said: “I’m devastated that I was doing a good deed for someone when this happened to me, but I mainly want people to understand how quick something like this can happen, so please never leave your children or pets in your car whilst popping into shops or anything. Please do not take it for granted.”

She said: “I am a big dog and animal lover and didn’t want any harm to come to it. I stopped, shut the car door and called it over. A man came over and said he believed it belonged to a builder working on the street.”

As she spoke to the builder, a witness saw a man walking by jump into her car and drive off. She rang the police immediately and they caught up with the car, but not before it allegedly hit two or three other vehicles including a police car.

Mrs Barber was amazed it could happen so quickly in a quiet village. She said she did not want her car back as it would be a constant reminder, adding: “I feel so violated now. I cannot put into words how this has affected me.”

○ Stephen Sacre, 42, of Harlaxton Road, Grantham has been charged with dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance, and theft of a vehicle.

He appeared before Lincoln Magistrates on Monday and was committed to Lincoln Crown Court on conditional bail to live and sleep at 12 Church Lane, Sleaford. He was given an electronic curfew between 7pm and 7am each day and must report to Sleaford Police Station between 12 noon and 4pm each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.