Teen’s canal search recovers precious tinnie
FOURTEEN-year-old Tom Stokes saved long and hard to buy his tinnie, so when it was stolen there was no way he would let the crime go unsolved.
Tom said he had slept at a friend's place at Iluka and they planned to go boating the next morning.
But when they got to the beach, the boat was gone.
"I saved up $2000 for my boat," Tom said. "First I saved up for a smaller one, and then I sold it to buy my new boat.
"I was pretty angry when it was stolen, but I was relieved to have found it."
Tom said he had spent the day scouring the waterways to find his boat.
He said he found it anchored on a bank at Kolora Lake in the last canal he checked.
"I didn't believe it was my boat when I first saw it," he said.
Tom said that on the day his boat was stolen, he had dragged it up the beach and chained it to a 3.5m pole, which was the same length as his tinnie.
He said the thieves must have stood it on its end and lifted it over the pole.
"They must have been able to operate a boat because they drove it from Iluka to Yamba without hitting the wall or a bank at night," he said.
Tom said the thieves broke an ignition lever, scratched the registration number and his engine, sifted through his life jackets, used half of the fuel and took his registration papers.