Following the spate of thefts from boats in the past two weeks, police are patrolling the towpath after dark. They are calling on occupied boats to warn boaters, and also stopping and searching people on the towpath.
There have been 12 burglaries from boats that we know of in the last two weeks or so. As far as we know, two boats were broken into at Tyle Mill on 6th March, and one before that. We have been told about thefts in Kintbury, Great Bedwyn, Brimslade and Wootton Rivers. There were break-ins at Bishops Cannings on 8th and 12th March; at Seend and Whaddon on 11th March; at Semington on 12th March and at Bradford on Avon on 11th March. Items taken include food, rucksacks, climbing gear, a yoga mat, a bicycle that was inside a boat, and valuables such as ipods. A gas bottle was also stolen in the last two weeks from a boat west of Limpley Stoke, following some thefts of diesel and coal from boats in or near Bath and vehicle break-ins. We believe that the thefts around Bath, the vehicle break-ins and the burglaries from Bradford eastwards were all done by different suspects, but that’s not certain.
Secure your boat and your stuff as best you can, don’t leave valuables on the boat if it’s unattended, moor with other boats, and keep a look out for anything suspicious. CRT enforcement staff say they are liaising with the police about this. The police in Wiltshire appear to be taking this seriously; perhaps this is one of the outcomes of Wiltshire Council’s Boaters Voices project which Sally Ash has tried to prevent the Council from distributing (the police are one of the service providers the project is aimed at). You can ring the police on 101 and if it’s an emergency, dial 999.