Cornish fisherman: Lobster pot thieves wrecked my business
A Cornish fisherman is facing a tough year after thieves stole almost half of his lobster pots valued at £4,000.
Barry Garland, 58, had only just finished repairing his pots when they were stolen from Reppers Coombe car park, in Quay Road, St Agnes, in the middle of the night.
He said the theft was "gut wrenching" and, uninsured and unable to finance their replacement, would seriously impact on his business.
The thieves struck last week sometime between 6pm on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday.
"I was working on them on Tuesday and was just finishing patching them up after two months' work," said Mr Garland, who lives in St Agnes and who has been fishing for 20 years.
"I went down there on Wednesday morning and the whole lot were gone.
"The impact is that last year I earned £8,000-9,000 from almost 100 pots and now I am going to lose half of that.
"I think they were watching for me and waiting for me to finish them because as soon as they were finished, they disappeared."
Mr Garland, who also handlines for bass and pollock, said he now only had 46 lobster pots remaining. He believes the pots may have been stolen to order.
But he said they would fetch just a fraction of the £100-per-pot it would cost him to replace them.
"They knew what they were after," he added. "I had about 30 ink well pots I use for spider crabs down there, as well as about two miles of rope, and they didn't touch them."
Mr Garland works from a small 15ft boat with his lobsters mainly being exported to France and Spain.
He is hoping that some publicity will help find the distinctive pots, which he bought three years ago.
The news has also been aired on the social media sites Facebook and Twitter, while details of the pots have also been circulated around other Cornish ports.
"I'm sure they are still in Devon and Cornwall," he added. "I do think they will turn up somewhere."
Police in Perranporth have appealed for anyone with information about the theft to come forward.
Anyone who may have been offered the stolen pots is urged to contact the force on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.