River crime spree: York Rescue Boat sabotaged by thieves who steal from Sea Cadets and City Cruises

A York Street Ranger and police officer bring the stolen Sea Cadets boat back. Photograph: NYP York City on Twitter
7 Jul 2019 @ 4.05 pm
| Crime, News

Thieves stole a boat and set off on a crime spree along the river in York city centre.

They took a York Sea Cadets boat from close to Queen’s Staith overnight (6-7 July) and used it to access other vessels on the River Ouse.

One of them was the York Rescue Boat. They stole the full fuel tanks from the charity’s boat moored to the staith, effectively rendering it useless.

It meant if someone had fallen in to ther river overnight, the volunteers would not have been able to launch an immediate rescue attempt, putting lives in danger.

This was the York Rescue Boat targeted by thieves. Photograph: YorkMix

Rachel Lacy of York Rescue Boat said:

  • It’s digusting that someone would do that. The boat has York Rescue written on it, so it’s obvious who we are.

    It would have dramatically reduced our response to an emergency. We would arrived their not knowing this had happened.

    We’re just thankful there was no call out.

North Yorkshire Police said on Twitter: “The actions of those involved have potentially put the lives of others at risk as the boat was unable to respond to incidents on the river.”

Police rowed boat back

Police and a York Street Ranger return the stolen boat. Photograph: NYP York City on Twitter
The thieves also targeted City Cruises York, stealing alchohol and other items from the pleasure cruises.

Police are liaising with other river users to see if any further boat break-ins took place.

The Sea Cadets boat was abandoned near Clifton Bridge. With the Rescue Boat out of action, a police officer and one of the York Street Rangers rowed it back.

Fortunately the fuel tanks for the Rescue Boats were abandoned inside, after thieves were unable to syphon the petrol from inside. They are now chained to the river bank inside the boat.

Rachel said:

  • We’ve been wondering if someone’s thought this one through. It’s not just spur of the moment.

    They’ve done a thieving run up the river. It’s the first time we know of that somebody’s done something like this.

    There’s a lot of angry people about at the moment.

Rachel said that this sort of incident would not be possible when York Rescue Boat gets its floating pontoon, which might be installed before the end of the year.

North Yorkshire Police are asking anyone with information on last night’s thefts, or CCTV of the river, to get in touch. 101 with quoting reference number 12190122680.