TWO alleged thieves managed to get away with a 17ft canoe – after telling police they were using it to go sledging.
It is understood that police officers stopped the duo following reports that a canoe had been taken from a garden in Edinburgh during snow storms on Monday.
But the officers let them go on their way after being assured they had permission to borrow the canoe to use on the snow.
The canoe was later found and is due to be returned to its owner.
Norman Maver, the owner of the Canadian canoe for more than 30 years, criticised the police for being naïve.
The 58-year-old said: “They came out responding to a call about a bright red, 17ft canoe that had been reported stolen.
“It’s a hundredweight and usually takes a few people to shift it.
“He called the police but when they arrived [they were told] they had permission to go sledging in it and that was that.
“They just let them go on their way.
“I don’t know about anyone else but I have never seen a 17ft canoe going sledging before. It’s insane. For the police not even to take names when they are on a call about a stolen canoe is ridiculous.”
The father-of-two went to a police station the following day to report the theft.
It was then he discovered to his horror the incident had been dismissed as a misunderstanding.
Mr Maver said he still hoped police would find his canoe and that it will be returned safe and in one piece.
He said: “The funny thing is lots of people do borrow it. The difference is, they always ask first.
“It’s an old friends and I really want it back. It’s irreplaceable to me, we’ve had it that long.”
Norman later revealed that his canoe had been found and was safely stored at a police station awaiting forensic examination and to assess any damage caused.
He said: ‘It’s just so frustrating, it’s the sentimental value to me. I have no idea how much it’s actually worth. I did give it a new paint job though last summer, and that cost me £250.
He added that an Inspector had personally visited to apologise.
“His exact words to me were ‘I’m here to eat humble pie’,” said Norman.
“I just can’t believe it happened. It’s just you couldn’t make it up,” he said.
The canoe had been stored outside in the same spot for 30 years and had never been touched before.
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “We can confirm a complaint has been received relating to the police response following the theft of a canoe from an address in Morven Street on Monday 21st January.
“The matter will now be thoroughly investigated and the complainer will be fully updated as to the progress of this investigation.”
A spokesman later added: “A 16-year-old male has been arrested and charged in connection with the alleged theft of a canoe.
“He is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.
“The canoe has been recovered and will be returned to its owner.”