Yacht hijacker scuppered

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The stolen vessel returned to the harbour awaiting a high tide to refloat it

In the early hours of the morning of 12 July HM Coastguard was alerted by a member of the public that a vessel had run aground near to the lifeboat station at Dungeness.

RNLI Littlestone was paged at 5am and arrived on the scene at 5:30 am. The Coastguard had arrived 30 minutes earlier.

The boat was reported to be stolen from Strand Quay, and police subsequently went to Rye Harbour, where the vessel was recovered by the RNLI and a suspect was arrested.

Following this, police received a separate report of a burglary: a bicycle stolen from Simply Italian restaurant on the Strand in Rye. The bike was recovered and the suspect was further arrested for this offence.

A 57-year-old man, of no fixed address, arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary, has been released on conditional bail until 9 August pending further enquiries.

PC Rob Jennings, of the Hastings Neighbourhood Response Team, said: ‘Having been alerted to this incident by HM Coastguard, our officers swiftly attended Rye Harbour where the suspect was duly arrested.’

This is an excellent example of multi-partnership working between Sussex Police, HM Coastguard and the RNLI. Each agency played a vital role in bringing a difficult situation to a satisfactory conclusion.

The owner of the boat, now back at its Strand Quay mooring, Rye businessman Mike Hodgson, was full of praise for the way the boat had been recovered. “The RNLI was brilliant,” he said.

Image Credits: Kt Bruce .

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