Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

'Boat burglaries up' says insurer

Winters offer opportunities for thieves with unused boats

The number of break-ins of boats in 2008 is up 20% on the previous year, according to an insurer.

Thieves are attracted by the expensive equipment onboard such as radios, navigation systems and personal entertainment sets.

Boats are particularly vulnerable during the winter when they are often unused, says Navigators and General (N&G), part of insurer Zurich.

It believes the economic downturn is increasing the problem for owners.

Metal and diesel theft had also been on the rise, the insurer said.

"We are advising boat owners to make it obvious that there is nothing on board the vessel by leaving curtains open to show empty cupboards and drawers, and even leaving a note stating that the boat has been stripped out for the winter," said James Roberts, head of N&G.

He added that equipment taken home or stored ashore was still covered under most marine insurance policies.

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