Man jailed for Wigan Pier canal cruise boat burglary
Sean Chaplin, 38, of Brookhouse Flats, Scholes, appeared before borough magistrates to admit burgling the tour barge Elleswake, belonging to Kittywake Canal Cruises, on the morning of Sunday, May 2.
It was the second time the family-run business had been hit in less than a month and the first raid had prompted a generous public fund-raising response to help replace stolen items.
After Chaplin’s break-in, Sandi Carrington, from Kittywake Canal Cruises, said: “They’ve trashed the boat, they’ve ripped the bar off, and damaged the electrics. They’re ripped the doors off, smashed glasses and any stock that was still in there. They’ve taken a suitcase, even a barge pole, and thrown them in the water, as well as a trolley that we use to carry stock, and computer tablets that we use as tills.
“It’s soul-destroying. We remortgaged our house to buy this business, and it is absolutely crippling, what they keep doing. If it wasn’t for having such a loyal customer base – and we are so lucky to meet the most lovely people in our job – we would’ve gone under by now. Thank God we love what we do!”
A statement on the fund-raising page, set up by pal Ruth Haugh, said: “Our friends have had their boat broken into.
“This has happened numerous times, but this time is devastating to the family business.
“They have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage which might result in not keeping Kittywake afloat.”
In April, raiders broke into another boat, Kittywake, which runs popular canal cruises and private functions, and helped themselves to most of the spirits and beer on board.
They then took the smaller working boat, the Wuber, before abandoning it in a bywash in Beech Hill.
For the May raid, Chaplin was remanded in custody by the bench pending his appearance before a Bolton judge on June 15 for sentencing.
To donate to the fund-raiser for Kittywake, visit www.gofundme.com/f/helping-the-kitty-wake-get-back-a-float.
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.