A homeowner turned the tables on a trio of burglars by filming them as they tried to break in to his house.


The quick-thinking man whipped out his smartphone and started filming when he noticed the men trying to open the gate to his courtyard in the suburb of Norwood in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, in north-eastern South Africa.


The clip shows the men fiddling with the lock on the gate in broad daylight, unaware that they are being filmed.


Then as the unnamed homeowner pointedly clears his throat, they look up and realise they have been rumbled.


There is a comically long moment of indecision, then the would-be thieves turn tail and flee.


A spokesman for South Africa’s Intelligence Bureau said of the video: "Notice how cowardly they are when they realise they are caught on camera.


"When you are a vigilant intended victim the tables turn very quickly and the sheep in wolves’ clothing become the hunted deer in the spotlight."


Wandile Yani, chairperson of the Norwood Community Policing Forum said: "It is clear that they have no respect for the law. They have no respect for anyone, seeing that they can do this in the middle of the day."


No one is thought to have been arrested over the attempted break-in.