A SPREE of mindless vandalism has caused anger among sailors.
Boats moored close to Langstone Bridge are being targeted by vandals, who venture across the mud to trash the yachts.
The most common form of vandalism is smearing the vessels in mud, leaving the owners with an arduous clean-up job.
But in one incident earlier this month a dinghy was stolen from Langstone Sailing Club and offenders sailed out to a boat.
‘They smashed their way in and wrecked everything,’ said Gerry Woods, a committee member at Langstone Sailing Club.
‘They emptied all the cupboards and lockers.
‘They threw stuff around and took a few knives.
‘The most distressing thing for me is not about the stealing, but the damage caused.
‘They took a generator worth about £400 and threw it in the sea.
‘You can almost understand people stealing – but not taking valuable possessions and throwing them in the water.’
Two years ago the main problem was louts releasing boats from their moorings, allowing the vessels to float out into the harbour.
The club is looking into stepping up its CCTV security.
Mr Woods added: ‘They see us all as wealthy boat owners.
‘If you are using a floating mooring, it’s because none of us can afford to put our boat in a marina. It’s a tight budget.
‘The last thing you need is a huge bill for cleaning up your boat. The police do try their hardest.
‘They never get prosecuted even when we can identify the kids.’
Hampshire police have launched Project Kraken, encouraging people to report any suspicious activity.
A spokesman said: ‘It is the maritime community who are best placed to recognise what is out of the ordinary.’
He added: ‘There is only one way to guarantee that your property will not be stolen from your boat and that is to take it home.
‘We understand that this is not always possible but look at your boat as you leave it and consider how it looks to a potential thief.
‘Ensure attractive items you are leaving are out of sight or locked away.’