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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 04:38 GMT 05:38 UK
Boat theft men 'bid to sail home'
Trawler generic
The men had reportedly been drinking when they took the boat
Two men reportedly sparked a huge rescue effort when they stole a fishing trawler and tried to sail 67 miles after missing a ferry home to Dublin.

The pair realised too late that they did not have a clue how to sail the 30ft boat, The Times said.

They were still in waters off Anglesey, N Wales, after going around in circles for eight hours on Saturday night.

The two men had been drinking when they stole the boat at Holyhead, the paper claimed.

They didn't even know how to switch the cabin light on
Lifeboat officer Ray Steadman

It said after twiddling the knobs on the boat's radio, they managed to issue a mayday call, prompting a search by an RAF Sea King helicopter, a Holyhead lifeboat and a coastguard cliff rescue team.

"They had no experience of the sea whatever; they didn't even know how to switch the cabin light on," said Ray Steadman, launching officer of the Holyhead lifeboat.

The Times said the pair stole the trawler Le Bon Mawr from the fishing quay at Holyhead harbour. After an operation costing several thousands pounds, they were eventually located by the Holyhead lifeboat.

They had assumed they were heading for Dublin, but when they were eventually found they were off Wylfa in Anglesey, having sailed 12 miles in the wrong direction.

Mr Steadman said: "They were completely lost and when they made the mayday call actually thought they were speaking to coastguards in Ireland.

"They were very surprised when they realised they were talking to Holyhead."

The men were towed into Holyhead by the lifeboat and were handed over to police who let them off with a caution.

However, when the boat's owner, Paul Jones, 38, complained that his engine may have been badly damaged, the men were rearrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

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