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Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 12:34 UK

Thieves hit around Britain kayak attempt

James Bonell's kayak at Aberdaron, Gwynedd
James Bonell's kayak was padlocked to a fence when stolen

A kayaker trying to paddle around Britain for charity has condemned thieves who stole his boat during his north Wales leg of the journey.

James Bonell has spent the last month travelling along the coast from Cornwall.

But on Thursday night his sea kayak was cut from a fence where it had been padlocked at Trefor, Gwynedd.

Despite the setback, Mr Bonell says he remains determined to finish the trip. North Wales Police are investigating.

"We arrived at Trefor last night having canoed from Bardsey Sound during the morning," explained the 24-year-old engineer.

"I padlocked the kayak to a fence and went into the village for some food and to stay with friends.

"This morning that padlock had been cut and the boat was gone, taking my gear along with it."

The kayaker said he had been left "gutted" by the theft.

"This journey has been months in the planning," he said.

"I'm not sure that I can put it politely in words what I feel about those responsible - they're scumbags."

Determined

The paddler left the Falmouth Maritime Museum in Cornwall in April, with kayaking partner Joe Andrews.

The pair intended to raise about £20,000 for two charities, WaterAid - helping developing countries provide clean drinking water, and the coilitis and Crohn's Disease charity, NACC.

Mr Bonnell said he chose the NACC because his sister was diagnosed with the bowel disease Crohn's in 2008, which can leave her housebound for days at a time.

James Bonell and Joe Andrews testing their sea kayaks
The pair of kayakers hope to raise 20,000 with their trip around Britain

For the last 10 days, Mr Bonell has been solo paddling after his partner suffered an injury.

"I had hoped to be heading to Holyhead today, instead I've been dealing with the police and insurance companies, trying to sort this out," he added.

But he said since people began hearing about the theft, he has been receiving offers of help from people around Gwynedd to replace his missing boat and gear.

"It's is going to set me back a few days - but this is not the end of the journey - I will be getting back in the water and continuing as soon as I can."

North Wales Police confirmed they are investigating the theft of the 20ft (6m) kayak and equipment from Trefor, after being alerted at 0800 BST on Friday.

A spokesperson said officers are appealing for anyone with any information about the boat or its theft to come forward.



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