Detectives have launched a murder hunt following the discovery of a farmer who was reportedly mown down by a vehicle while confronting burglars at his property.
Julian Gardner, 52, is believed to have tried to stop the thieves at his farm in Robertsbridge, East Sussex.
A work colleague of bachelor Mr Gardner, 52, found him lying on the driveway when he went to work and he called 999.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, told the Daily Mail: "Julian was run over and killed as he was trying to prevent people robbing his farm.
"He was hit by the getaway car as he tried to stop these people.
"They didn't stop to help him and instead left him dying in the driveway."
Police were alerted by South East Coast Ambulance Service following the emergency call and rushed to the isolated Bush Barn Farm off the A21.
Mr Gardner lived in a house at the farm, where he ran an agricultural and car repair business.
The property was sealed off as detectives combed the area for clues.
Detective Chief Inspector Adam Hibbert from Sussex Police's major crime branch, who is leading the inquiry, said: "We are treating this incident as murder."