Narrowboat broken in and trashed

Published: Friday, 20 April 2018

I WAS  reminded of our own experience after reading your article about the man who had his boat stolen and trashed, writes, April Simpson.

We had only had our boat a few months and so were exited at using it, so as we had no long holidays available we joined it on Friday evening then left it moored on Sunday evening until the following week, this way getting decent use out of it.

Secluded spot

One Sunday evening we left it at a fairly secluded spot by Catherine De Barnes on the Grand Union Canal out of Birmingham, believing as we were out of the city it would be safe as it was locked up, but how wrong we were, for the following Friday we came back to see the stern doors wide open and the interior completely ransacked and anything of the least value either stolen or obviously thrown out. It was so distressing.

It took us weeks and a good amount of money to get it back in condition after first getting it into a marina to keep it safe, but ever since, and this was three years ago, we have never left the boat towpath side anywhere for any length of time, even though we feel it now safer to leave.

Simple padlock

The problem was there was just a simple padlock securing the stern doors, that as I saw on many other boats I thought quite safe, but it was pointed out to me that a simple blow with anything heavy and the hasp is broken and the thieves are in, which is obviously what happened.

I should like to warn others who leave their boats about the canals that this method is in no way secure and certainly no deterrent to thieves. We have discarded the wooden doors with their pretty pictures and had them replaced with steel and no padlock in sight but a flush Yale lock. The bow door too is now steel and firmly fastened from the inside, so at least it is safe from any thieves.

I expect it is now safe to leave unattended by the towpath, but the experience has had a lasting effect, and though it is left whilst we are either shopping or eating out whilst cruising, we just do not think the canals safe enough to leave for days at a time, as safe as it is.