The popularity of the Mac is increasing among everyone – including crooks.

Staff at Gordon Harwood Computers found this out the hard way recently, after preventing four men driving off with a car full of stolen Macs.

Last Tuesday, the store had closed its doors to the public at 5.30pm but members of staff were still working in another part of the building.

The four men had parked in the car park of the Derbyshire-based Apple Centre, and were loading a car with equipment from the showroom when, at around 6.15pm, their presence was noted by a member of staff.

He and another colleague approached the intruders, who attempted to drive off. One member of staff managed to get into the car and remove the key from the ignition.

The four men then left the premises on foot and the staff at Gordon Harwood alerted police, who are now "pursuing enquiries".

Director Giles Harwood told Macworld said: "I believe that the increased popularity of Apple and better brand awareness has lead to a greater demand for Macs on the black market.

"This incident shows how important it is to ensure that a premises is fully secure even if staff members are still present. Normally a burglar alarm is not set until the last person leaves the building but this incident proves that the presence of staff will not deter criminals. People are becoming more desperate and are resorting to extreme tactics."

This is not the first theft to have hit the Mac reseller. Last July two men made off with two Macs and despite being caught on CCTV no arrests were made. Police recently reopened this enquiry, believing there is a network of people receiving Macs.

A recent theft at London-based PR agency Bite Communications highlights this preference for Macs amongst crooks. The agency runs both Macs and PCs, yet only Macs were stolen.