The thief fled after being disturbed by Stevie Ward and Mitch Achurch, who were members of the Rhinos team which thrashed Hull KR 50-0 in last month’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final. The Rhinos duo share a house in the Churwell area and Ward believes his car was the target of the attempted raid. “I was in bed and I heard a noise downstairs,” said Ward, a 21-year-old second-row forward, who measures 6ft 2ins and tips the scale at 15st 3lbs.
“My mate was in downstairs and the door was unlocked. Somebody popped their head in and I think he was trying to find the keys for my car. A neighbour said some hooded youths had been looking at my car a day or two before. He went back outside and I saw him dodging between cars, trying not to be seen. I threw some clothes on, but by the time I got there he had 20 metres start on me, so there was no chase.”
Ward and Achurch - another forward who is 6ft 5 tall and weighs 17st 6 lbs - then went out to see if they could spot the thief - and found him walking back towards them.
“I think he must have got a bit of a shock,” Ward added. “He scarpered pretty quickly. We went after him, but he ducked into a field and it was pitch black, so he got away.”
Police were called and attended the scene. Ward, who is used to tackling some of the toughest men in sport during Super League matches, said: “I think it was just instinct to give chase.
“If we’d caught him we’d just have sat on him until the police arrived.”