GANG scrap thefts from a merchant's yard have become a way of life for a Mexborough trader.
Repeated attacks on his metal and mixed scrap site at White Lea Road have lost trader Keith Ibbertson thousands of pounds in nabbed stock.
Yet despite THREE major raids in one week alone, 72-year-old Keith is determined to carry on, saying if he can't beat the thieves, at least he won't let them close him down.
Keith has run his yard for 54 years, after setting up at the age of 18, on the same site. It has been one long battle against theft but the problems have got worse rather than better...
He is now pinning his hopes on new police incentives to wage war on scrap raiders, who are regularly using lorries to cart his stuff away, claims Keith.
The damage to his property has not stopped at theft either.
Keith turned up from his Sprotbrough home in the past to find his old guard dog, a cream Alsatian, with his face cut in two, his front leg hanging off and split through the belly with his entrails hanging out – but still alive. He has never had a guard dog since.
Most recently, the caravan he used as a site office was burned to the ground.
"It's not for the faint-hearted here," he confessed. "It's unbelievable what they do, but I can't stop 'em."
The site is fenced and wired all around, but most of it is patched and re-patched, with thieves using bolt-croppers to force their way through any obstacle in their way.
Plastic coating from aluminium carpet fitting rods litters the ground all around one spot, where offenders have come through from the redundant Manvers railway line.
At the opposite end of the two acre yard is a gap in the fence bordering an end-on street, that is another new access point.
Shattered glass covers an area where the frame of what was recently a chicken shed and greenhouse still stands - another legacy from unwelcome visitors.
"I've spent so many hours trying to catch them," added Keith. "It's a losing battle but I'm fairly healthy and I need to keep working for the money. I'm not being put off so I'll live with it."
One recent raid saw a yard loss of 800 worth of copper cylinders, pipe and lead.
He admitted: "There's not a night I put my head on my pillow and not have my mind on what's going on – but what do I do?".