A man had spotted a telehandler being driven off from a property after he was woken by the commotion.
Becoming suspicious, he followed the vehicle through Laxton and Egmanton, before the two men inside abandoned the equipment and reportedly fled the scene in a car.
Police were called and are now investigating the incident, which took place on Town End, Laxton, on Friday, January 21, just after 5am.
Inspector Charlotte Allardice, Newark & Sherwood district commander, said: “As a largely rural area with lots of our residents working in agriculture, we understand how deeply they are affected when this all-important equipment is taken from them.
“Not only does this leave them with a financial loss, but, as this type of equipment is essential for their agricultural businesses, it has a wider impact on their functions and their livelihoods.
“This is why we are committed to working with our residents and acting on local information in order to stop these incidents from happening.
“We urge anyone with information about machinery theft, or any other crime, to speak to the local neighbourhood policing team.
“We are there and working proactively to serve the community and listen to concerns.
“Thankfully the equipment has now been returned to its rightful owner and the efforts of the good Samaritan to monitor the vehicle and report this to us are much appreciated.
“Anyone who witnessed this incident, or has information or dash-cam footage, is urged to get in touch on 101, quoting incident 77 of January 21, 2022.”