A Topper left at the side of the road was stolen overnight from the M5 near Exeter

A sailing dinghy was stolen from the side of the motorway just over a week ago after the owner was forced to leave it behind when the roof racks on his car broke.
John Collins and his wife were travelling northbound on the M5 as they returned from their annual holiday in Cornwall when the roof rack fittings broke near Exeter. The Topper then broke loose and fell backwards off the roof of the car onto the motorway.
The Highways Agency agreed for the boat to be left behind the barrier on the edge of the carriageway while the couple arranged alternative transport to retrieve it.
However, when Mr Collins returned to collect the dinghy the next day, July 20th, he found that it had been taken and reported it stolen.
Mr Collins said: “I did make two attempts to retrieve it, the first almost straight away, as the police patrol who found it and safely cleared it to the side of the road advised me it was ok but I would need to get a new set of roof bars.
“We left it at the back of the barrier on the motorway and the next day I hired a van, when we got to the place where we left it, it had vanished.”
Although the boat is only worth a few hundred pounds, Turtle holds a great deal of sentimental value for Mr Collins as it was the first dinghy he ever bought and has owned it for around 25 years.
The boat’s registration number is 23763.
“I registered it as a crime with the police and they have done their checks but there is nothing more they can do. There was no CCTV cameras covering the area and nothing was spotted by patrols.”
Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the Topper is asked to get in touch with the police, quoting crime number CR091435/14.
Posting on the YBW forums, Mr Collins’ son in law Martin Rymell said: “As we left it outdoors it could have been taken innocently, but we’d love to see it again.”

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