Night raid on kayaks
THE weather put a dampener on Christmas for some tourism operators in the Tweed - but Mount Warning Tours owner Michael Simmons said it had not been too bad.
That was until Thursday morning, when he found four of his kayaks had been stolen overnight.
Mr Simmons said the kayaks were taken from a pontoon boat in the Tweed River along Riverside Dr, Tumbulgum.
Whoever took the boats seemed to have come from the water, he said.
"They've just come in the night and taken them," he said.
Mr Simmons said the chain securing the kayaks was found in pieces on the boat."Yesterday afternoon they were here," he said on Thursday morning.
"They were actually inside the pontoon boat. They were chained up."
Mr Simmons said replacing the kayaks would cost Mount Warning Tours several thousand dollars.
"We're going to have to replace those kayaks so those tours can go ahead," he said.
Mr Simmons said the business, which was launched last September, was otherwise doing well, and this was an unwanted hardship during a fairly rainy tourist season.
"It's been a challenging time for operators because of the weather," he said.
"We were looking at the (weather) forecast thinking we'd seen the worst of it, then this happened."
Mr Simmons said Tumbulgum locals had been keeping an eye out for him.
He said it was a shock to have this happen in such a close-knit community.
"Tumbulgum's such a sleepy town," he said.
"We're on very good terms with all the people there."
He said it was disheartening to have this happen just months after starting up kayak tours on the Tweed River.
"You're doing it to provide a nice experience of the Tweed," he said. "It puts a bad taste in your mouth."
Mr Simmons said there would always be "some dangers" of keeping them on the water.
"You can never secure something 100% on the water," he said.
Just before Christmas, another business was targeted, when items were stolen from two hire boats on the same night.
The owner, who did not want to be identified, said it was a concerning thing to happen, but not a recurring issue.
Tweed-Byron LAC Inspector Gary Cowan confirmed the kayak thefts had been reported, and said there had so far been no progress in locating them.
The investigation into the missing kayaks continues.