A horrified dad watched as a thief sped off in his car while his three young children were sitting in the back.
Zahid Nazir from Bolton, was driving home from a wedding on July 27 with his three children and stepped out of his car for a quick break, Manchester Evening Newsreports.
At around 2.45am, the 37-year-old got out of his Mercedes “for seconds” to talk to his wife, Sabahat, who was in another vehicle, with the couple’ s three children – Khadlijah, eight, Muhammad Ahad, seven, and ten-month-old Ayesha – in the back of his car.
A man had crept around a corner and entered the driver’s seat durring this time without the couple noticing.
Before realising the children were still inside the vehicle, the thief sped away and Zahid desperately tried to catch up and stop the car from getting away.
CCTV footage showed the dad sprinting down the road after his kids before losing his balance and tumbling to the ground.
He quickly got into his wife’s car in an attempt to follow the driver.
In their desperate pursuit, the couple drove past a police officer and hailed him over to help with the search.
After speaking with officers, he realised his wife’s phone was still in the stolen car and he used the ‘Find My iPhone’ app to help locate the device and his children.
Around 20 minutes later, police tracked the children down with the dumped car on a quiet country road.
“I couldn’t believe it when I turned around and saw the car driving away – I was in total shock,” Zahid said.
“I barely had time to think when I just ran off after the car, I knew I had to try and stop whoever was taking my children away.
“After that, I felt very panicked and worried about what had happened, I didn’t understand what was going on.
“Eventually I was reunited with them, which was a really emotional moment. I was so happy they were okay.”
The dad said his children were unhurt and fine on the night, but have since begun to struggle to sleep due to fear of intruders.
Zabat and Sabahat said they also now feel unsafe at home.
“We spent a few night’s at someone else’s house because it was too scary to stay here,” he said.
“I’ve even thought about selling the house and the car to try and keep everyone safe, it’s a horrible situation to be in.”
Despite his fear, Nazir does not believe the thief knew the children were inside the car when he stole it and that that’s why the car was abandoned.
He added: “When I saw my kids I just started crying. I didn’t even run to them to begin with, I just cried.
“I felt so happy and relieved that they were with me again and had not been hurt.”