CCTV footage from Forth Cruising Club in Limekilns shows the suspect inspecting Robert Green’s 15ft Montauk Boston Whaler and speaking to the local boat club commodore on Wednesday, June 16 before driving off in a silver Range Rover Sport.
Mr Green, 48, said he was later told by police that they tracked the vehicle registration plate on motorway cameras travelling south to England and then returning to the village to steal the boat in the early hours of Saturday, June 19, with the theft also captured on camera.
The owner of the £22,000 boat said he and his nine-year-old son Mason discovered it missing that Saturday morning as they arrived to take it out on a fishing trip. The vessel was bought in May and had only been used once before.
After reporting the incident to police, Mr Green was informed later that day his boat had been found in nearby Broomhall Estate but the 116kg engine - a Mercury 60hp Bigfoot - had been cut free from the boat and stolen. He says he has been looking at alternative engines for this boat which cost around £8,000.
Mr Green, who is originally from Australia but moved to Scotland 16 years ago, said: “It’s taken a long time to save up for that boat. It reminded me of a lifestyle I missed from home and I got it to teach my son the same thing.
“I only bought the boat in May and we had been out fishing two weeks before and caught lobster and crab. That Saturday morning we were looking to do the same thing but found it missing. His buddy met us down there as well and you could see the innocence leaving them.”
Mr Green, who has been living in Charlestown for about six years, said local police dealt with the incident very well and came out to take statements and identified the suspect within 48 hours.
He continued: “Basically the person has driven up through Glasgow and Falkirk and straight to the village without stopping anywhere and the boat is off the beaten track and you would have to know it is there - it’s a very discreet location.”
Mr Green said the thief (or thieves) had to break the wheel lock on the trailer beneath the boat as well as cut the engine lock and steering cable in order to remove it. He strongly suspects more than one person was involved in moving the 116kg engine and believes the theft was organised rather than opportunistic.
However, he is yet to hear of anyone being arrested in connection with the incident and worries progress could be hampered because the suspect lives in England.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Police in Fife are investigating the theft of a boat from a cruising club in Limekilns which was reported to officers on Saturday, 19 June, 2021.
"The boat has since been recovered with the engine missing. Enquiries remain ongoing."
Mr Green, a former environmental consultant who now specialises in waste management resource recovery, had no insurance on the boat but is hoping to find a way to replace the engine.
The boat itself is named Droppy1 after a fictional character his son wrote a story about.