SCOUTS preparing to start their boating season have been dealt a blow after their £15,000 powerboat was stolen.
The 5th Gosport Sea Scouts’ rigid inflatable boat was stolen from Hill Head Sailing Club in the dead of night.
Supporters and children at the club had fundraised to buy the boat and just paid out to have it refurbished.
Scout leader Allan Davey said: ‘They’re removing great opportunities from some kids who really need other activities to be involved with.
‘There’s a certain amount of resignation that as soon as you hear it’s nicked, you’re never going to see it again, no matter what you do.’
He added that the theft means the group’s summer boating plans will be restricted as it was used as a safety boat when they go sailing.
He said: ‘We were intending to get out off Hardway.
‘Particularly with the sailing and rowing you need a safety boat. It’s going to restrict us a bit.’
The boat was chained up on a trailer at the sailing club on March 9 before it was stolen between 1am and 6am.
It means the group is stuck having to use Stoke Lake as there they don’t need to use a safety boat.
Jake Shepherdson, 15, of David Newberry Drive, in Lee-on-the-Solent, is a Sea Explorer at the group,
He told The News: ‘It’s a pain. Obviously we can’t go sailing down Hardway because we need the RIB.
‘It’s awful. I don’t see what the need is to steal something like that. We spent quite a long time fundraising for that as well. Out on the lake it’s quite different to Hardway.’
Around 45 Scouts attend the group and have lost out, along with 10 older teenagers in the Explorer division.
The boat was also due to be used at a Scout camp this Easter, according to Richard Whiteley, from the group.
He said: ‘The theft of the RIB will deprive a considerable number of Scouts the opportunity to experience power boating and the possibility to gain power boating qualifications.
‘It will also deprive the group of the ability to provide safety cover for its water activities.’
The group is asking people to keep an eye out for the 5.2m long Mariner Bigfoot.
Call Hampshire police on 101, quoting 44140091333.