Heartless criminals who stole boats worth around £4,000 from a local sea scout group are being hunted by police.
The theft occurred on 18th May at Newbold Sea Scouts Hut on Talton Mill Lane, when seven chained up boats were taken overnight.
The thieves got away with four large Canadian canoes and three kayaks worth up to £4,000, leaving the group with just half a dozen kayaks.
Scout leader Adrian Wakeham said: “This was a big proportion of our boats, luckily they didn’t get any of the equipment from inside like the helmets and paddles.
“This will have a big impact on the activities we will be able to do, we won’t be able to do any Canadian canoeing and it will cut down on how much kayaking we can do, it’s going to spoil the kids’ education and fun.
“Of course it depends on what happens with the insurance but we could struggle to replace everything we have lost any time soon. We’ve not had a meeting since the boats were stolen but we’ve put the word out there on facebook.
“Going on the river is an important part of these children’s upbringings, this has undoubtedly spoiled our summer. I imagine we will have to raise part of the money to replace these boats ourselves.”
Adrian explained that he did not think the theft was the work of opportunists because of the size of boats taken and the chains that were cut to access them.
Nicki Wakeham, assistant beaver scout leader, said: “I absolutely can’t believe it, that people would do this to a charity and also to children, I think it’s disgusting.”
Sarah Spiewakowski, whose son is a member of the scout group, added: “I find it amazing that someone would steal things that are so clearly for children, I think it’s appalling, I can’t believe they had the nerve to do it.
“My son is upset about it because he thought he was going to go out on a boat tonight, but it seems like he won’t be able to all year now. Using the boats is such an important part of being a sea scout, it’s one of the main reasons people go to Newbold Sea Scouts.
“The scouts are a charity, it’s terrible that this has happened.”
If you have any information regarding the thefts, call police on 101 with the crime reference 188 of the 18th May.