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Father-of-two Ryan Ingham, pictured, paid out £2,000 on materials and then painstakingly installed a 6ft fence so his children could play safely in his Rotherham garden.

However the 27-year-old was devastated when he woke up the day he finished the project and found that thieves had stolen every one of the 14 wooden panels – leaving only the fence posts.

He said: ‘I needed to do something to make the garden secure and I never thought anyone would steal it. It beggars belief.

‘It must have been more than one person and it must have taken some time to remove them.They are big, heavy panels. ‘We never heard a sound and I can’t believe that we slept through it all.

A police spokesman said that the incident was being investigated.