But a word of warning: the same marketplaces also attract the less scrupulous trader, so it is an unfortunate fact of life that some of the gear you are offered may have been obtained dishonestly. Undercover policemen do the rounds of boat jumbles, masquerading as yachtsmen, and all too frequently find stolen goods on the benches there. You therefore need to be careful what you buy – not only because buying stolen gear simply serves to encourage the trade, but also because you might be throwing your money away.
This is because under the law no one can pass on a better title to goods than he possesses – in other words, if he doesn’t legally own it, you haven’t bought it. Even if you pay hundreds of pounds for an outboard which you buy in good faith, if it turns out to be stolen you will lose both the engine and your money.
The website stolenboats.org.uk is an online database of stolen boats and marine equipment. All the information on the website is provided by the marine insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer. Information about boat thefts is circulated to the Police and the general public by means of a theft alert mailing list. Before buying a boat or any marine equipment it is always worth checking the site to ensure it is not a stolen item.
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