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Now you sea us...now you don't!

PUBLISHED: 14:46 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 23 August 2010

A SEA Cadet group needs to raise about £5,000 to improve security after thieves stole wheels from their minibus for a second time in three months. The 17-seater Ford Transit was targeted last week during an identical theft to one that took place in March

A SEA Cadet group needs to raise about £5,000 to improve security after thieves stole wheels from their minibus for a second time in three months.

The 17-seater Ford Transit was targeted last week during an identical theft to one that took place in March at the Gravesend Sea Cadet base.

Thieves used bolt croppers to get through the steel mesh fence at the headquarters in North West Kent College, Lower Higham Road, Gravesend, in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, July 12.

Commander Ian Dunkley, chairman of the unit management committee, said: "It's just soul destroying, really. We are absolutely devastated.

"It's hard enough keeping the place going and raising the money to do what we want to do without having to find more"

Following the earlier theft, the group installed CCTV and put in a double layer of mesh fencing.

Footage from the camera shows the thieves breaking into the site and stealing the wheels, but as the security lights had yet to be installed, the images are not clear enough to assist the police.

The group says it spent a lot of money after the previous theft and is now concerned it will have to pay out more money to improve the site's security measures further.

Lieutenant Commander Dick Thackery, commanding officer of the unit, said: "We have already had to use funds allocated for other projects to help pay for the previous damage and to improve security.

"It looks like we will now have to try and find something in the order of £5,000 to build an even stronger fence, in addition to the repairs to the vehicle."

Kent County Council (KCC) has said it will loan the cadets a minibus until they can get the vehicle back on the road.

Kevin Harlock, KCC Commercial Services Director, said: "Kent County Council has an extensive fleet of minibuses and coaches used during term time for home to school

transport.

"These are often used for various voluntary organisations and events during the summer months and I feel sure we can help the Sea Cadets in a similar way."

The unit is urgently looking for more secure parking for the bus until they can repair the fencing.

If you can help, call Mr Dunkley on 07786 856888.

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