A charity has been rocked after vandals twice damaged its recently purchased training yacht.
Blyth-based the Marine Support and Training Service (MSTS) purchased the 27ft Gaff-rigged sailing cutter earlier this year to help members experience the difference between powered craft and handling a vessel under the power of the wind.
But officials have been left shocked after vandals twice targeted the vessel – Bushy Barnaby – while it was berthed on the northern end of Blyth harbour, near Cambois.
Twice vandals have cut the ropes on the vessel, damaging the hull and gallows.
On the first occasion, MSTS members were told by the Blyth deputy harbour master that the vessel’s stern was drifting out into the harbour, while on the second occasion a local boat owner saw the vessel floating free and was able to temporarily fasten it up before members arrived.
Herb Carol, the MSTS head of unit, said: “I simply cannot understand why our small charity has been on the receiving end of such mindless vandalism.
“Initially we thought that one of the ropes had snapped due to the weather conditions, and only later found that the ropes had been cut both times.
“Replacing the ropes and weights has been quite an expensive exercise for us, and we have had to divert some of our training funds to pay for the replacements.
“As a small charity with a very limited income, this issue has placed a great deal of strain upon our resources.
“Our most sincere thanks to the boat owner who noticed that something was wrong, and temporarily secured our yacht until we were able to attend.”
Anyone with information into the incident is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting number 059337Q/13.