A SEA Scout leader has been left in disbelief after thieves stole parts from a newly-refurbished safety boat.
Children, both able bodied and disabled, will not be able to use the boat, which belongs to 3rd/5th Lancing Sea Scout Group, until the end of the year while an insurance claim is made and new parts installed.
Water activities Scout leader Tom Smith said: “It upsets me a lot. It was disbelief first of all. I couldn’t believe things had gone, but then secondly this is a charity boat for local children.
“The thieves are targeting kids. It’s very clearly marked. There’s huge emblems on it to show you who it belongs to. Whoever took that obviously has no concern for children in the area. It’s for kids from all backgrounds. A lot of hard fundraising has gone into getting those new parts.”
Parts totalling £1,250, were discovered missing from the BWM Deep Sea 16 boat on Saturday, September 19. Housed inside the Shoreham Sailing Club, at Shoreham Port.
The thieves stole the boat’s new Baystar hydraulic steering system, steering wheel, fuel tank, first aid kit and safety flare pack, rendering it useless to do its job of protecting young people in the water.
In total, £9,000 had recently been raised as part of a major project to refurbish the boat.
Despite being 21 years old, the boat was used three times a week plus weekends and helped to ensure young people remained safe in the water at events.
Mr Smith said: “Primarily it’s a rescue safety boat. It covers all sailing, rowing and swimming events. It’s on standby should anyone need help. It’s our version of a lifeboat. It’s also used to teach the kids themselves how to handle a boat.
“It’s a really professional job done to order. They probably saw it out being used. It’s very well publicised and a well-known boat in the area. It was known we just had it refurbished.
“It’s certainly going to be off the water towards the end of the year when it’s all sorted out.
“Everything has ground to a halt and we are having to use little dinghies.”
Mr Smith added that there were no signs of a break in and he believes the thieves entered from the water side, possibly on another boat.
A police spokesman said: “Sometime between Tuesday, September 15, and Friday, September 19, a boat at the Shoreham Sailing Club was entered, without forced entry, and a number of items were stolen, including a flare pack, a first aid kit, a boat safety knife, two hatch covers, and a 25 litre fuel can, all belonging to the local 3rd Sea Scout Group.
“Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Sussex Police via email@example.com or call 101, quoting serial 1151 of 19/09.”