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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 11:36 GMT
Surf crime wave hits beaches
Police are warning the thousands of surfers who flock to Welsh beaches to be on their guard because of an unlikely new crime wave.

Thieves have been targeting cars parked by surfers at the beach when they know the owners are on the waves, then making away with thousands of pounds of valuables.

Surfers traditionally leave their car keys under a wheel arch or under a rock in the beach.

Credit cards, keys, mobile phones, and sometimes even the surfers' cars have been stolen.

Around 40 thefts have been reported to South Wales Police alone during the past year, the latest of them this week.

Now the police and some councils around Wales are looking at ways of protecting surfers' belongings when they hit the waves.


One solution they are considering is putting up beach lockers up for surfers to lock up their valuables.

Nineteen-year-old Laura Morris, a surf instructor, a victim of a beach robbery last July at Caswell Bay on Gower, south Wales, said she now felt more "vulnerable".

Her car was vandalised and her keys and mobile phone were stolen.

"It does make me a bit more nervous," she said, because the house keys were also stolen. We had to have the locks changed but still didn't fee safe."


She said beach crime does have a big effect on surfers generally.

"People don't want to leave their car open on the beach."

South Wales Police Officer Gerry McKay, himself a surfer, said the water sport present a "golden opportunity for the criminal fraternity".

He said the problem was not just limited to south Wales, bur thieves were hitting unsuspecting surfers right around the Welsh coast.

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