A specific operation is underway in Llangollen targeting the theft of canoes and kayaks.
With tourists already flocking into the area, local officers have been working to ensure that visits by canoeists and Kayakers aren’t ruined by thieves taking their property.
“The issue began to come to the forefront last summer, when we had a couple of canoes / kayaks taken from the town” said local PCSO Karl Joseph.
“The items were taken in broad daylight and in the past 12 months we have had seven similar thefts reported to us. It is very possible however that more have been taken but for whatever reason haven’t been reported to us.”
In a determined effort to curb the thefts, a multi-pronged operation has started which combines pro-active patrols, crime prevention work and liaison with key partners in the community. Kayakers and canoe owners are also being urged to play their part by ensuring their property is left secure at all times.
To date, members of the Neighbourhood Policing Team have been undertaking pro-active patrols along the riverbank and speaking to local hoteliers and those who provide accommodation in the area about security measures and the operation. Officers have also been speaking to local kayak / canoe centres making them aware of police activity and speaking to the kayakers themselves – informing them of the operation and urging them that if they see anything suspicious to call police immediately.
PCSO Joseph added: “As a result of a patrol along the river recently we were able to re-unite one kayaker with his property after we found a couple of kayaks floating on the river and a car roof rack near the Chain Bridge.
“The kayaks and canoes are not cheap to buy and it is essential that we have the support of the public to help us stamp out this kind of theft. In some cases we’ve see kayaks and canoes left on cars and vans secured by just string or bungee cords - this could prove to be an open invite to thieves who will seize on any opportunity to get away with the goods. ”
As part of their duty, patrolling officers are also identifying vulnerable vehicles that have items poorly secured or valuable items on display within the vehicle.
Furthermore, officers are also using the Online Watch Link (OWL) to alert individuals to key messages and appeals for information. Individuals, particularly working in the tourism industry in the vicinity are also being encouraged to pass on the crime prevention advice.
Inspector Siobhan Edwards, the local District Inspector for the area, said: “We are determined to tackle this kind of theft which not only impacts on visitors to the area but also our local businesses and community. We want to keep south Denbighshire a safe place and one that people want to visit and spend time here without the fear of becoming a victim of crime. That is why we are involving partners in our work and calling on people to assist us in our objectives by ensuring that their items are kept secure and that any suspicious activity seen during the day or night is reported to police immediately.”
Keep your Kayak /Canoe safe
Kayak / canoe enthusiasts are urged to keep their property secure when left unattended day or night. Local police are issuing the following top tips to help individuals avoid becoming a victim of crime:
• Ensure that kayaks / canoes are not left on your vehicle overnight, however if this is not possible:
• Ensure you park your vehicle off a main road but within your view
• If you are staying overnight, inform the hotel manager / accommodation owners that you have a kayak on your vehicle and ask if they have any secure storage you could use.
• Ensure the car park / hotel where you leave your vehicle has fitted and working CCTV or security. If they have suitable secure overnight storage facility – use it.
• Obtain a working lock to secure your kayaks to the vehicle
• Take pictures of your property and make a note of the 12 digit Hull Identification Number (HUN) and keep this safe.
Finally, if you see any suspicious activity contact police immediately on 101. Anyone with information regarding the theft of canoes / kayaks in the area can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.