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Serial flights on boats in the ports of Vendée and Loire-Atlantique

Several marinas on the Atlantic side have not been spared in recent days. A series of thefts concern high-end or recent equipment such as GPS. An investigation was entrusted to the gendarmerie of the Vendée.

Methodical flights of GPS and high-end equipment, several ports on the Atlantic coast were visited. Main target: private or professional motorboats and speedboats. But not only. Fishing or rescue boats were also affected.

At the port of La Turballe, we do not take off. The alert came from the SNSM, the national sea rescue company when the volunteer rescuers who came to train on a Sunday morning discovered that the GPS tracker of their semi-rigid was missing.

This is the first time that the Loire-Atlantique resort has been the victim of such theft. For the team of rescuers, no longer being able to have this essential equipment is very penalizing.

Denis Bertho, the president of the SNSM of La Turballe specifies: “The semi-rigid is unavailable until we can get a new GPS. In the meantime, there is no possible rescue, but it is the fastest boat to come to the scene of intervention. It provides first aid, secures boats and people and can also search much closer to the coast. The GPS plotter is very important for navigating near rocks where there is very little water. .”

The theft is all the more experienced as an injustice since the SNSM, made up of volunteer rescuers, operates solely thanks to donations for the purchase of its equipment. “There’s some for 5,000 euros. It’s a big loss. The people who did this don’t realize. They are unconscious because they are harming human life at sea”, completes Denis Bertho.

Among the other victims at La Turballe, several private boaters including Pascal Pontais, owner of a second home at La Turballe. Come for the weekend, he comes to check the moorings of his boat and discovers that the canvas above his cockpit is half removed. “There was no more GPS, no more engine control screen. It was done very cleanly, the screws had been unscrewed. Targeted work. For me, they are professionals who steal easy-to-use electronic equipment. resell”explains the yachtsman, before adding more: “I was told that in Port Bourgenay 10 to 15 boats had also been vandalized during the night from Friday to last Saturday”.

Bertrand Stephan, harbor master at La Turballe confirms. In the port, many speedboats were visited and/or broken. According to him, the winter period is also conducive to this type of flight: “In summer we have guards, not always in winter. In winter, the owners are not always there, often there is bad weather, it is more tempting for thieves.”

What solutions then to limit the breakage? For Bertrand Stephan, “itThe thefts encourage the gendarmerie to do more rounds. There are also CCTV images but if the faces and plates of the thieves are hidden it remains difficult to identify them. We will try to organize between ports and maybe put a video reinforcement.”

According to testimonies, the modus operandi is always the same, well established. A very organized commando officiates at night and only steals advanced equipment. This is also confirmed by the images of video surveillance which cover the pontoons of the marina of Piriac-sur-Mer, also affected. Christophe Guena, harbor master in Piriac-sur-Mer confirms. “Individuals had to scout. They look at what interests them and then take action by breaking and stealing the electronics of the boats”.

In Piriac, at least three boats were vandalized. The police and the gendarmerie were notified and the boaters filed a complaint.

According to our information, in Vendée, the ports of Herbaudière in Noirmoutier, the port of Morin in L’Epine, as well as the port of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie were also visited. In Loire-Atlantique, the ports of Le Croisic and Pornichet were not visited. In total, from La Turballe in Loire-Atlantique to Port Bourgenay in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, in Vendée, some 70 boats and launches equipped with recent electronic equipment were vandalized.

An investigation was opened and entrusted to the gendarmerie brigade of the Vendée.

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