Man jailed for Wigan Pier canal cruise boat burglary

A man has admitted to breaking into a Wigan Pier canal longboat to plunder electrical goods and a large amount of alcohol.
The trashed interior of the ElleswakeThe trashed interior of the Elleswake
The trashed interior of the Elleswake

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.

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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.

Elleswake moored at Wigan PierElleswake moored at Wigan Pier
Elleswake moored at Wigan Pier

“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.

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“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.

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To donate to the fund-raiser for Kittywake, visit

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