Garden centre owner ‘lucky to be alive’ after attempting to stop truck theft

A garden centre owner is “lucky to be alive” after being knocked over by his own two-tonne truck as he tried to prevent it from being stolen.

Anthony Halse jumped into his car and chased the thief who had driven the blue Nissan Navara out of the car park at Sunnyside Nurseries in Langstone yesterday afternoon and headed towards Newport.

After coming across the Navara – a type of pick-up truck -parked in a bus lay-by opposite Park End, a mile or so down the road, he pulled over and got out to confront the man.

A shaken Mr Halse, 56, told a local newspaper that the man “looked me right in the eyes” before driving at him and knocking him up and over the bonnet, and into the Newport-bound lane of the A48. Luckily there was no traffic coming his way.

“He must have stopped to shut the (Navara’s) back door because we’d been cleaning it before it was taken,” said Mr Halse.

“I pulled over and approached but I didn’t even have the chance to talk to him.

“He looked me right in the eyes. I was about four feet away coming towards him and he just put his foot down and drove at me.

“If I’d gone under instead of being knocked up into the air, it would have been much worse.”

After being knocked over, Mr Halse managed to get back into his car and drove towards the Coldra roundabout and beyond to try to find the Navara.

He got as far as the roundabout near Llanwern High School on the A48 before he realised his right leg was hurting and he returned to the nurseries.

Mr Halse was back at work today, but is sore down most of his right side, with a swollen right knee.

Despite his ordeal however, he is sure of one thing: “I will never forget that face.”

He described his assailant as being in his mid-20s, with dark hair and a beard, and wearing dark clothing on his top half.

Police attended the nurseries on Mr Halse’s return, but so far the vehicle – registration number Y337 CGL – has not been found.

“It hadn’t been used for three years. We’d brought it down to the main car park to be cleaned ready for the Christmas trees,” said Mr Halse’s wife Nicola

“Anthony said there was a driver in a white car who saw what happened, and the Navara was seen by someone local being driven on the wrong side of the road, overtaking cars.

“We need anyone who saw this incident or the Navara afterwards to come forward, so the person who did this can be caught.

“My husband is very lucky to be alive.”

The Navara was stolen from Sunnyside Nurseries, opposite the New Inn at Langstone, at around 1.30pm yesterday.

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