Warning after thieves strike sailing clubs across Portsmouth Harbour

John Roberts, 70, one of the commodores and a member of Portchester Sailing Club for 12 years 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161476-9254)
John Roberts, 70, one of the commodores and a member of Portchester Sailing Club for 12 years Picture: Sarah Standing (161476-9254)

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FEARS have been raised after a string of thefts from boats at a marina.

Members of the maritime community across Portsmouth Harbour have been targeted in a string of thefts and vandalism.

This was an attack on ordinary sailing folk

Roger Smith

It comes after 16 small boats were either broken into or damaged when thieves tried to get inside at Portchester Sailing Club.

Locks and hatches were smashed, with fishing equipment among items stolen.

Roger Smith, secretary of Portchester Sailing Club, said ‘This was an attack on ordinary sailing folk.

‘The damage to property is far greater than the value of the gear stolen – and the criminals will find that little value will have been gained from their mindless vandalism.’

Club Rear Commodore John Roberts added: ‘This came out of the blue.

‘The thing that has puzzled all of us is that most of the stuff is unlikely to sell for very much.’

Inspector Kevin Cuffe, of Fareham police, said patrols have been increased.

He said: ‘This a clearly a concern for the boating community in the area, however I would like to reassure them that we are working closely with our Marine Unit and the sailing club to tackle this issue and protect vessels moored on our waters.

‘Our neighbourhood officers have stepped up patrols on land and our colleagues in the Marine Unit have increased their patrols on the water.

‘We also have officers who are looking at CCTV from the area and offered crime prevention advice to the sailing club.

‘These break-ins have occurred on boats which were moored off shore, so those responsible would have been on site for sometime getting to and from the vessels in order to commit these crimes, therefore we are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious as this information could prove vital in our investigation.’

The 16 boats were damaged between October 8 and 14.

PCSO Bob Shailer warned there has been an increase in thefts of GPS systems and radios from boats in Fareham.

Separately, Sgt Simon Law, of Gosport police, said Haslar Marina was broken into overnight between Friday and Saturday.

Around 14 sailing jackets were stolen, including high-value Henri Lloyd jackets.