A ‘thief armed with a huge knife’ allegedly carried out a raid just yards from where a family – and their children – were sleeping.

A tradesman said his blood ran cold and he could not believe his eyes when he saw CCTV footage of someone with a large knife on his driveway. The 36-year-old, who does not want to be named, said he feared if he’d have gone out to stop the man and his accomplice stealing from his van he would have stabbed to death.

He said he looked on in horror at the man armed with the weapon as he kept look-out for his accomplice during an early morning raid, the Leicester Mercury reports.

Eerie footage shows two men tip-toeing in the street at night.

CCTV footage was captured of the incident (Image: Leicester Mercury WS)

The father-of-two, of Syston, said: “I could not believe my eyes. “The footage of this man brandishing a very large knife on my drive, while my wife and children slept in the house yards away is chilling.“My blood ran cold. If I had gone out there to try to stop them stealing tools from my van I might have ended up stabbed to death.“That thief looked like he had that knife for a reason and looked like he was prepared to use it if anyone tried to stop them.”The tradesman said the ‘thieves’ struck at 1am on Wednesday and took two nail guns and a drill worth £1,500 from his van. He said: “I always park my van right against the house wall but this night I had wood on the roof rack so had to leave a gap. “It had been a long hard day and, like a fool, I left my tools on the van. I hardly ever do that as I have had them stolen before. “I heard my dog bark just before I went to bed so had a look outside but could see nothing.”

One of the men allegedly had a huge knife (Image: Leicester Mercury WS)

He said he went to leave for work the next morning and saw his van doors open.The men had also allegedly taken his back light fittings worth £500. The resident said: “I knew I had been done again. I looked at the CCTV and got so angry. “The footage is scary and eerie because it is in black and white due to the night camera. “These people are obviously prepared to use a weapon and need to be caught as soon as possible. “These thefts have all happened after the street lights were switched off in the night. Me and my neighbours want them switched back on.”

A resident said his blood ran cold when he saw the footage (Image: Leicester Mercury WS)

The tradesman said he had the CCTV cameras installed after the first of three thefts from his van back in August last year.Thieves struck again in May and took parts off his van. Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for highways at Leicestershire County Council, said: “We implemented the part-night lighting scheme in 2010 to save money, energy and reduce carbon emissions. “We have worked closely with the police throughout the part-night project and annual reviews have shown that there is no direct links between crime and part-night lighting.“We are sorry to hear about the incidents that have affected him. We will work with the police to understand the details around these incidents.” A police spokeswoman said: “We have received a report about a theft from a van in Syston.“We are investigating and would appeal to anyone with any information about the theft to call us on 101.”