Perhaps it’s no great shock to hear that marine crime is on the increase, but particularly worrying is the shear scale of current thefts from boats in Devon and Cornwall. All too often boat crime is seen as ‘a minor inconvenience that the insurance will cover’ but its clear that what is going on in many cases is well organised, well thought out mass theft of outboards in particular. In some cases some yards have been targeted not once, but twice within a matter of weeks and its likely outboards were all but being stolen to order.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Boatshed Dartmouth’s appeal is that we can all play our part in deterring crime and bringing it to the attention of either or both the police and the boatyard / marina owner.

In order to conduct some of the recent thefts the premises attacked must have been carefully selected and most likely visited before hand by those who then went on to conduct the raids. So, if you see anything suspicious when in your local boatyard please let someone know. Typical behaviour might include someone spending a lot of time looking at security arrangements and CCTV cameras, access roads and gates in and out or even asking what might seem ordinary questions like opening and closing times. Criminals will pose as genuine customers in order to find out information so it’s worth just being that extra attentive to detail and watching and listening if you are suspicious in any way and then passing the information on.

Last week ten brand new outboard engines were stolen in the Devon area and such is the seriousness of this current spate of crime that we are issuing the Devon and Cornwall Press Release in full here:

Police in South Devon are warning boat owners and boat yards to be vigilant and tighten up on security.

“With the sea being the main attraction in South Devon, there are various water sports and activities that demand serious financial investment.” said Mike Youlden, Crime Prevention officer.

An outboard engine can be very costly, dependant on its size. Since the beginning of April 2011, over £30,000 worth of marine equipment has been stolen from boat yards and marinas in South Devon alone. Key target areas are Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Ivybridge.

Theft varies from small outboard engines easily carried by one person, to the larger four-stroke engines which require a considerable number of people to lift. In some cases, larger engines can only be moved with appropriate lifting equipment.

“If you are being offered an outboard for a price that seems too good to be true, then it’s possible that it’s stolen and you could be committing an offence of handling stolen property” said Mr Youlden.

To eliminate marine crime, South Devon police are stepping up patrols, targeting all suspicious vehicles and working with boat and yard owners to catch offenders in the area.

Police are appealing to members of the public to be vigilant. If anyone suspects any suspicious activity, please contact them on Tel: 08452 777 444 or Crimestopppers on Tel: 0800 555 111
Anyone requiring crime prevention advice should contact their local Crime Prevention Officer on Tel: 08452 777 444

Boatshed Dartmouth have available some crime prevention posters and information leaflets available on request. If you are able to put up a poster or hand out leaflets then please contact either your local Crime Prevention Officer or Paul Singer, your Boatshed Dartmouth broker.

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