Kingsbridge Police find stolen vehicles before owners realise they're gone

By Sam Acourt in Crime

KINGSBRIDGE police officers located a stolen van and boat before the owners even knew they had gone.

On Wednesday, December 28, at around 4.30pm, a Kingsbridge police officer was on a routine patrol when he noticed a yellow Renault van towing a RIB on a trailer. Suspicious, the officer pulled the vehicle over to conduct a check.

While the officer was checking the vehicle, he received news that the two of the Coastguard Rescue Team from HM Coastguard in Falmouth, had assisted a yellow Renault van in South Sands, when it had become wedged on a hairpin bend.

The Coastguard officers had been suspicious of the two occupants and the information was passed to the police.

After the officer at the scene carried out more investigations, the two men in the van were arrested on suspicion of theft and taken to Torquay.

Further investigations revealed that the boat had been stolen from a residential driveway in Salcombe and the van had been stolen from a yard in Plymouth.

Neither the owner of the boat or the van were aware that their vehicles had been stolen, until they received phone calls from the police.

The two men who were arrested have been interviewed and bailed until next year, while further investigations take place.

A spokesperson for Kingsbridge Police said: ‘This was an excellent example of proactive policing and teamwork by all officers involved.

‘Police in Kingsbridge and indeed across the South Hams are working hard to prevent and detect marine crime offences under the name Operation Ashmead.’

In order to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of marine crime, police advise following the security checklist:

· Don’t leave anything loose in the cockpit or on the deck

· Always put your valuables in a strong, fixed locker and secure with a quality deadlock or padlock

· Take your personal and vessel papers with you – don’t leave them on board

· Don’t leave your home address on show

· Don’t leave your keys in the ignition – always take them with you

· Keep your boat keys separate from your engine keys

· Make sure your curtains are closed so no-one can look in

· Ensure all unused ropes, fenders and other items are out of sight in your cockpit lockers and cupboards

· Make sure that your life raft and outboard motor are secure, as these are valuable and attractive to boat thieves

· If you’re leaving your boat on a trailer for the winter consider putting it on blocks

· Keep your list of serial numbers up to date

·Take pictures of your property so that it can be easily identified if recovered

Official advice states: ‘If you are the victim of boat theft, call the police immediately on 101. Check to make sure that your boat is still seaworthy and hasn’t been badly damaged. And, if you can, check that neighbouring boats haven’t been broken into as well.

‘If your call is an emergency, ie a threat to life, or if a crime is in progress, call 999 immediately.

If it is simply a matter of informing the police of a marine incident that does not require an immediate response then call Devon and Cornwall Police on 101, email at 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police. co.uk, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.’

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