A FOUNDRY worker’s car was rammed by burglars after he caught them red-handed.

The thieves then threw a brick through the windscreen of the man’s people carrier as it was parked in the grounds of Thomas Broadbent and Sons Ltd, Queen Street South, Huddersfield.

The victim, who works in the foundry at Broadbent’s, had just arrived for the start of his shift yesterday morning when he was caught up in the burglary just before 6am.

It is understood that he got out of his car to try to stop the burglars.

But one of the gang jumped in the empty vehicle and drove it out of the way before the thieves made off in a wagon containing thousands of pounds-worth of machinery.

The worker was taken to hospital for treatment to cuts and bruises but later released.

Simon Broadbent, managing director of Broadbent’s, said: “There’s no immediate impact for us, but from the human point of view this is a serious incident, because our employee could have been seriously injured.”

It is thought the burglars drove onto the site in a white wagon with a red crane on the back at about 5am.

It is not known whether they damaged the gate or broke the lock to get in.

Mr Broadbent said the wagon’s number plates were covered up, so they could not be caught on CCTV.

He added: “They drove around to the back of the building, dragged some heavy machinery which weighs several tonnes, out of the way of a locked compound, and stole various items of stainless steel machinery.

“Someone knew what was there and has come in specifically to get it.

“They tried to break into a couple of other buildings unsuccessfully before leaving some time between 5.45am and 5.50am.”

Broadbent’s makes centrifuges for the sugar, chemical and petrochemical industries and supplies industrial-scale laundry equipment.

The stolen equipment was centrifuge parts.

Mr Broadbent said: “They will only be able to sell it as scrap – without the rest of the machines, they are useless.

“But they’ll still get several thousands of pounds for it.’’

At least three people were in the gang. Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

Mr Broadbent added: “We’ve had incidents before, but not with this level of violence.

“Usually it’s people jumping over the fence and throwing bits back over and the odd person coming in trying to collect scrap.

“This was a lot more serious.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0845 6060606.