Boats set adrift

BUDLEIGH Salterton boat owners, with vessels on the beach, have been dealt a second blow after a number were deliberately pushed into the water, this week.

BUDLEIGH Salterton boat owners, with vessels on the beach, have been dealt a second blow after a number were deliberately pushed into the water, this week.

The act of vandalism follows a recent spate of boat thefts, where vessels beached on the pebbles have been stolen.

The police said they are linking the latest incident to damage caused to the Longboat Caf� and the east kiosk, which occurred on the same night.

Three boats were deliberately pushed into the water some time between Monday night and Tuesday morning.


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The police said the foggy weather could have enabled the culprit to work under cover.

Property left inside the boats by owners had been removed and left on the pebbles.

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It is uncertain whether this was a deliberate move, or the culprit intended to steal it but was disturbed.

Budleigh Salterton neighbourhood beat manager PC David Lea said officers were investigating the vandalism and appealed to anyone who could have seen or heard anything suspicious, to get in touch.

PC Lea said deliberately launching empty boats could have resulted in a full-scale sea and air emergency service missing person search, costing thousands of pounds.

He said: "If the coastguard or emergency services came across an empty vessel at sea the whole thing would swing into action, checking where the vessel had come from, with people searching in case there was anybody on board, who had fallen overboard."

Three boats - one fibreglass, one inflatable - were pushed into the water at Budleigh.

The district council said the choppy sea hampered efforts to retrieve the boats and identify them.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: "For the same reason, it has been difficult to determine who the owners are.

"We have contacted several registered owners and two have confirmed that their boats are safely at their homes.

"This narrows down the ownership issues and we have left messages for those we believe to be the owners."

Exmouth coastguard's initial response team secured the vessels above the high water mark.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 08452 777444, quoting crime reference KE/09/2683.

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