A popular tourist attraction in Enniskillen has been forced to close after thieves stole engines from boats that give users the opportunity to explore the waterways around the county.

Erne Boat Hire, located at Regal’s Quay close to Erneside rents out small boats to tourists to travel on Lough Erne.

But on Wednesday morning as employees opened up, they found nine engines had been ripped from the boats overnight and stolen forcing the family run business to close temporarily.

It is believed that a boat being used as part of work to a footpath beside the river close to Wellington Road was stolen around the same time and was used to load the engines on to.

The boat was found abandoned close to playing fields not far from the business.

Mark Pancott, who owns Erne Boat Hire, said it was devastating for this to happen said that the padlocks had been ripped off before being loaded on to the stolen boat and being ferried away. 

“We have had a lot of people down disappointed today (Wednesday) and people in the future going into the weekend.”

Mark has urged anyone who is offered a 6hp Mariner or 6hp Selva engine to get in contact and hopes that police will also be able to find those who have targeted the business.

“We are a small family run business. It’s going to be a big hit against ourselves to recoup the engines and the money for them.”

Police are appealing for information following a report of the theft of boat engines from the Wellington Road area.

Sergeant Beeson said: “Shortly before 10:20am this morning (Wednesday, August 7), it was reported to police that nine outboard motors had been stolen from nine boats located in a jetty in the area. It was reported the locks of the boats had been forced open during the incident.

“We are investigating a possible link to this incident and a report of the theft of a number of other boat engines of vessels located at a jetty in the Lakeview Park area of Enniskillen. The thefts are believed to have occurred sometime between 10pm on Tuesday, August 6 and midday today (Wednesday, August 7).

“Enquiries are continuing and we would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious at both the Wellington Road and Lakeview Park areas to contact police in Enniskillen on 101, quoting reference number 476 07/08/19. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”