Littlehampton youth sailing club loses thousands after motor stolen from boat

A youth sailing club has lost thousands of pounds after a motor was stolen from them last week.

Thieves cut the fence around the Arun Youth Aqua Centre, off Hendon Avenue in Rustington, overnight on Wednesday, September 19 and removed a motor from the Valiant boat stored there; one of four safety boats used by instructors to watch over the children while they are learning to sail.

Theft at Arun Youth Aqua Centre off Hendon Avenue in Rustington. The thieves cut the fence and stole the motor from the boat pictured above

Theft at Arun Youth Aqua Centre off Hendon Avenue in Rustington. The thieves cut the fence and stole the motor from the boat pictured above

Richard Renson, senior instructor, said it would have ‘taken some expertise’ to disconnect it from the hydraulics, and could cost the club up to £2,000 to replace.

He said: “There is a mentality from a minority of people, some of whom might not even come from here, that they can take advantage of others, and it should not go without being challenged.”

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Theft at Arun Youth Aqua Centre off Hendon Avenue in Rustington. The thieves cut the fence and stole the motor from the boat pictured above

Theft at Arun Youth Aqua Centre off Hendon Avenue in Rustington. The thieves cut the fence and stole the motor from the boat pictured above

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He said that the burglars set off an alarm in the process - but due to the high winds that night, Richard believed neighbours could have attributed the alarm going off to that and did not therefore contact the police.

Security lights are being installed to deter thieves, at further expense to the club.

Staff had trawled local buying and selling pages to see if the motor was being sold online, but they were not able to find it, Richard said.

Sussex Police said officers had engaged with the club, but leads had dried up.

It said: ‘Anyone with any information can report it online or call 101, quoting serial 1214 of 20/09.”