Police stopped and chatted to a thief as he emptied thousands of pounds worth of tools from a plumber's van then let him drive away.
Officers were called to Morden in south London by neighbours concerned about a man acting suspiciously.
But they watched as he took tools from Slawek Zareba's vehicle and into his own, before fleeing the scene.
CCTV footage shows the thief with his car boot open and full of Mr Zareba's tools on Saturday, October 6.
Police arrive and talk to him, before driving off. He then returns some 30 minutes later and carries on emptying the van.
Mr Zareba 42, said he has been left unable to work.
He told The Sun: 'I was inside my house, completely unaware of what was happening.
'Instead of quizzing the thief, checking the car registration details or even knocking my door to double-check, they had a talk with him and watched as they let him waltz off into the night.'
Mr Zareba said officers have not been back to apologise or investigate evidence at the scene.
The Met Police said a man has now been jailed five months.
A spokesman for the force said: 'David Walpole, 47, from Mordon, was sentenced on 13 October at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to theft from a motor vehicle.
'Police were called at around 4.56hrs on Saturday, 6 October to reports of a vehicle being broken into in Morden.
'Officers attended and found a man loading tools from a van into another vehicle. The man gave an explanation for his actions. Police later established the tools had been stolen. An investigation was launched and on Wednesday, 10 October a warrant was executed at a property in Morden. A number of items were recovered.
'A 47-year-old man was arrested on 11 October on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle and charged on 12 October.'
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.