Broads boat found sinking at Stokesby after joy ride from Acle

A sunken boat at Stokesby staithe.

A Broads boat found half submerged at Stokesby staithe had been stolen from Acle and taken for a joy ride.

Broads Authority rangers are currently putting a boom - a protection barrier, around the 17ft boat to stop any potential pollution.

Adrian Vernon, head navigation ranger with the authority, said the risk of pollution was low as the boat has an outboard petrol engine rather than an oil motor, but they will be keeping an eye on it until the owners have it raised.

'What people might have seen is the tangle of reeds around the boat, some brown scum and maybe tiny droplets of petrol which together make a real mess,' said Mr Vernon.

'If we are getting that tiny amount of petrol on the surface there's nothing that picks it up. Absorbent pads won't pick it up and the worst thing you can do it put detergent on it because that will just drag it down to bottom.

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'In this case, it's best left to the wind, waves and sun.

'We will keep an eye on it and, as I said, we are putting a boom around it to be safe.'

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The boat, currently sitting in about five to six feet of water, was found last Friday.

It had been reported stolen earlier that day.

Norfolk police, appealing for anyone with information about the theft to get in touch, said it was taken from moorings near Acle Bridge sometime between 4pm last Thursday and 10am on the Friday.

'Boats are vulnerable as they don't have sophisticated locks,' said Mr Vernon.

'But it is unusual for boats to be taken for a joy ride like this. This is the second one I've come across in recent weeks.'

The other theft involved a 20ft cruiser which was taken from moorings at Ludham Bridge Boatyard on September 19 and moved to moorings in Potter Heigham, where it was found undamaged eight days later.

Officers investigating believe the boat may have been towed as the outboard motor could not have been started without its key.

Would-be thieves have also attempted to take a 17ft wooden boat that was moored in Riverside, Martham.

It happened between noon on Monday and 1.15pm Tuesday when someone removed the padlock and chain from the boat and dropped them in the water. Police believe the offender was disturbed as the boat was not boarded and the mooring ropes were still in place.

Anyone with information about the incidents in Acle, Ludham or Martham is asked to call police as soon as possible on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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