Be vigilant on the Regent's Canal

Published: Sunday, 29 May 2011

No more reported break-ins in Islington, however Islington around the Narrow Boat pub is still plagued with petty crime particularly on Friday and Saturday nights and more so in balmy weather, writes James Rose.

Boats are regularly untied and recently we were 'rocked' and awoken at night with glass and books crashing onto the floor. Whether this was for 'kicks' or a precursor to a break-in is unclear.

Will run off

The good news is that in all reported cases, if you make it clear you are awake and onboard they will generally run off. However boaters should be extremely weary of making chase in the event that something is believed to have been stolen since they may find themselves outnumbered and away from their boat where they are most safe and visible.

About a month ago, a student was mugged on the towpath and a scuffle ensued onboard someone's boat. The boater courageously chased the gang into an estate where they disappeared but more recently another boater went after a stolen item but was set upon reportedly putting him in hospital for a number of days. (No more details sorry.)


Islington is an extremely useful spot for those wanting to visit the city or West End so in order to stay here overnight, I would recommend a few precautions

1. Use jubilee clips (fastening strips?) to secure your ropes, or put your ropes under other ropes that are well fastened. There are no reports of ropes being cut.

2. Do not fasten your ropes tight to the quayside or you will not sense when someone steps on your boat.

3. If you sense someone is there open your door/hatch loudly and generally they will run off.

4. Do not make verbal threats/insults or you may invite damage such as broken windows or worse.

5. Always lock bikes and other property on the far side of your boat and make sure they are 'seen' to be locked.

6. As mentioned use an aerosol horn if all else fails which will wake up other boaters if they refuse to leave—only reported where youths are drunk.

Be vigilant at night to youths with hoods-up, music playing externally, a really strong 'street' accent and sometimes the smell of marijuana. My foreign partner refused to believe they were speaking English. At weekends particularly if the weather is warm and especially where youths are drinking, I would advise boaters to moor overnight in City Road Basin until the situation is resolved.