Fareham MP Suella Fernandes has spoken out against the growing problem of thefts from boats in the Solent area following a meeting with Chief Inspector Sharon Wolrich, of Hampshire Constabulary.

Ms Fernandes wishes to highlight the growing issue of thefts from boats in Fareham, Swanwick, Porchester, Haslar Marina and Hardway.

A total of 39 boat thefts were reported between 25 July and 31 October 2016, with a higher concentration between 2 September and 20 October 2016 when 34 of the 39 thefts were reported.

Smaller boats have been stolen to access larger vessels moored offshore and electrical equipment such as radios and GPS systems have been stolen along with specialist marine clothing. Victims also reported items such as clothing, sunglasses, and cash being stolen from boats.

Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department have now taken on the investigation to identify the thieves, but have so far made no arrests, although Hampshire Constabulary have reported that possible suspects are being looked at and they’re ‘taking the issue of marine theft very seriously’.

In response to growing concern from boat owners, Hampshire Police Marine Unit have been conducting patrols alongside MOD patrols and Neighbourhood Police Team have increased their presence in the most targeted areas and have dedicated time to talk with boat owners.

Ms Fernandes said: ‘I feel very strongly about crime in Fareham. I saw first-hand how thieves have targeted boats docked in marinas across the local area. Marine theft can cost victims a significant amount when expensive electrical equipment is stolen.

‘But it is also having a huge cost on local police who are working to deter thieves by launching more patrols, and are investigating thefts that have been committed. I urge boat owners to be vigilant, to secure property on their boats, and to report suspicious behaviour.

‘What is really important now is that we raise awareness of the issue.’