BRAZEN thieves stole a 23ft racing yacht from a Kirkliston yard in the middle of the afternoon.
Footage caught on CCTV shows the moment the 707 boat SeaWord and trailer was hitched to a navy blue Ford Ranger and towed away shortly after 4pm yesterday.
Police are now investigating the theft from Royal Elizabeth Yard while owner Dara O’Malley has appealed for help in finding the £11,000 keel boat.
“They’re bonkers if they try to sell it,” said pharmacist Mr O’Malley, 44, from Ravelston. “What they don’t realise is that they can’t really sell it without someone letting us know.
“The police are scratching their heads as well because it’s not a high-value boat.”
The craft is such a specific club-racer type and the UK yachting community so tight knit, Mr O’Malley thinks any prospective buyers are likely to know him.
Valued at £6,000 with the trailer, the boat had £5,000 worth of kit on board, including sails, navigation equipment and life jackets.
“It’s 20 years old so isn’t worth any more than £6,000, you can get smaller boats for 30,40 or even £50,000 nowadays,” said Mr O’Malley, owner of Leith-based Omnicare Pharmacy.
But having won the Silvers Marine Scottish Series in 2016, the boat has a special connection having competed across the UK.
Mr O’Malley and his crew of four also sailed to four successive British nationals wins, the most recent in Hartlepool last year.
“It has a sentimental attachment, absolutely,” said Mr O’Malley. “It’s a special boat.”
The yacht was one of about seven stored at the yard popular with boat owners for its easy access to Port Edgar and the Forth.
“It’s all caught on CCTV,” said Mr O’Malley. “Two vehicles come in but there’s nothing too sinister about that because people come and go on the boats all the time.
“The lock was broken off the trailer and then CCTV shows a Navy blue Ford leaving Royal Elizabeth yard with stolen boat attached.”
A grey Seat Leon was also seen in the yard at around the time of the theft while one of the thieves had a beard and was wearing an orange boiler suit.
Grainy footage from the boatyard’s CCTV shows orange-coloured lettering on the side of the Ford Ranger.
Police are now trawling CCTV footage from neighbouring businesses for clues while there was one sighting of the Ranger and stolen boat heading towards Stirling.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police in Edinburgh are investigating a report that a boat and trailer were stolen from a yard in Kirkliston during the afternoon of Tuesday 13th August.
“Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 and quote incident number 3873 of 13th August.
“Alternatively an anonymous report can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."