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Nine raids on narrowboats linked by police
THIEVES are targeting people living on the Oxford Canal, with a spate of nine burglaries reported recently.
Canal boat owners in the Thrupp and Yarnton area have had their homes broken into over a two-week period, and police are seeking to catch the culprits.
The offences happened along the popular walking route, with the majority reported to police on December 30.
Adam Tasker, warden of the Thrupp Canal Cruising Club, said the burglaries had a pattern, with doors being forced open with a crowbar.
Mr Tasker said: “We patrol the moorings daily and we noticed that two of the boats had been broken into. The other two were reported to us.
“In one burglary personal possessions were stolen and on another a couple of bottles of wine were taken.
”It is very distressing for people who live aboard boats because that is their home. Some see it as a violation.”
In some cases the burglaries happened when the boaters were away visiting family for Christmas.
Mr Tasker added: “Most boaters are very nice people who would help anyone.
“Some had to travel hundreds of miles back here over Christmas to return to their boats and deal with the break-ins.
“Those affected have taken steps to resecure their boats. The greatest nuisance when you have these sort of burglaries is the damage done to the boat.
“The police have picked up some evidence. They found footprints on one of the boats.”
One of the incidents was near the Duke’s Cut, off the canal at King’s Lock, and another was at Lower Heyford.
Police say they are increasing patrols in the area to try to deter further break-ins. Pc Richie Iwanoff, investigating the incidents, said: “We are increasing the presence of officers in these areas to prevent any further victims of crime.
“The offences have happened around the canal, which is a popular walking route with the general public, especially during the holidays.”
One of the officers who was patrolling the canal yesterday lunchtime, Pc Paul Froggan, said police had been offering security advice to people in the area.
He said: “We have been discussing all sorts of things with them.”
David Barlow, the deputy warden of Thrupp Canal Crusing Club, added: “It is difficult. I keep my boat locked but theives can still smash windows.”
Anyone with information about the burglaries should contact police on 101.