MARINE crime around Falmouth and Truro has more than doubled in the past year with police believing organised crooks are responsible.
Because of the nature of the crime – where owners often do not know for weeks or, in some cases, months – investigating is "virtually impossible".
Inspector Mark Richards said: "Recently we had a report of a boat stolen from Truro, but the theft could have occurred any time between January and October."
He was keen to point out the figures were still low – a rise from 20 between April and October last year to 50 offences this year.
"It is a 100 per cent increase, but it is not high in terms of number of crimes," he said.
Usually it is boats, outboard motors or fuel, boat trailers and canoes and kayaks which are stolen.
"Unfortunately there is a market for these items and we have heard of people selling two or three engines at local car boot sales.
"Owners are the best people to spot the items and many do their own research at car boots or on e-bay."
Mr Richards said the increase in marine crime came as burglaries of residential properties and vehicle crime decreased.
"Security has improved and people have started to look elsewhere and they perceive boats as a softer target.
House burglary was down by 30 per cent and although vehicle crime in general was up from 144 to 182 offences, it was because boats count as vehicles.
Total crime in Falmouth and Truro was down by one per cent.
"It's not huge but it's going in the right direction," said Mr Richards.
He said owners must be on top of their own security of boats and equipment, suggesting they remove all valuables, including outboard motors.
"We often get repeat victims, particularly with outboard motors," he said.
"We are doing what we can with operations and boat watch and the marine community is very close knit."