'People have to remain vigilant' - reed cutter's boat engine stolen

A boat moored on the river Bure with piles of reeds on top.

The boat and the now-missing outboard motor. - Credit: Rowan Nichols

A crew of reedcutters say they have been left unable to do their job after thieves made off with a key piece of equipment.

Local reed cutters Lawrence Watts, Paul Eldridge and Rowan Nichols, are trying to get any information on their missing outboard motor after it was snatched by thieves on Tuesday, April 6.

Mr Eldridge and Mr Nichols arrived at work on the River Bure by St Benet's Abbey, Ludham at 9am to find the motor had been taken.

A black Yamaha 25hp outboard motor.

The stolen outboard motor. - Credit: Rowan Nichols

They quickly realised the tarpaulin on their boat had been loosened and the motor had been stolen.

Mr Watts, 38, said: "There was nothing special about the outboard. It wasn't new and sparkling."

Jerry cans and two stroke oil were also taken from the boat.

The trio have been cutting reeds along the Broads for more than two years.

Mr Watts continued: "It is upsetting, by boat is the only way we can get to our reed.

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"Without the outboard, we can't do our job."

The reedcutters informed Norfolk Police of the theft and also made an appeal for information on Facebook.

Reed cutter Paul Eldridge carries bundles of reed on the Norfolk Broads near Irstead, Norfolk. PRESS

Reed cutter Paul Eldridge carries bundles of reed on the Norfolk Broads near Irstead, Norfolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 21, 2018. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The post asking for information on the crime has been shared by more than 1,000 people.

"The response online has been great," Mr Watts said.

"Local people have helped us out - people have offered us outboards, it's been really nice to see that.

"That was part of the rollercoaster yesterday. It was up and down."

Mr Watts added: "If someone is out stealing, then someone is out stealing. Keep [your outboards] under lock and key. People have to remain vigilant now."

The three would like to know who took the outboard and hopefully get their motor back but Mr Watts admitted it was "a longshot".  

"Something suspicious would stand out. Was anyone seen walking with a wheelbarrow by the Abbey's car park?" he said.

"If anyone saw anybody on the moored boat between Friday and Tuesday, that would be useful information."

Did you see anything suspicious by the moorings on the River Bure near St Benet's Abbey between 4:30pm Friday, April 2 and 9am Tuesday, April 6?

Anyone with information should contact PC Paul Bassham on 101 quoting crime reference 36/22453/21.