A CASH-strapped ferry service that was saved by community fundraising is battling repeated thefts and vandalism.

Hythe Ferry, which runs daily between Southampton Town Quay and Hythe, has been hit by a spate of thefts – most recently losing a GPS Marine radio and handheld radios to thieves.

More than £60,000 was raised last year to rescue the ferry in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it now faces a fresh set of challenges.

Read more: 'We have run out of money': Fears for the future of the Hythe Ferry

'Ship out of action'

Operations manager at Hythe Ferry, Sath Naidoo, said losing this equipment would stop the service from operating.

He said: “If we didn’t have the equipment, that would have stopped the ferry from running.

“That’s how serious this is.

Daily Echo: Hythe FerryHythe Ferry

“It may only be a radio to somebody else, but that radio is used for emergencies, recording passenger numbers, and more, so a stolen radio puts a ship out of action.

“Fortunately, we had a spare, but it is taking up a lot of our time to repair the damage that people have done.”

'Working to stamp on the issue' 

Staff members are now having to monitor the ferry all day and night to ensure nothing else is stolen.

Sath added: “We are working with the police on it, and they will hopefully stamp on the issue.

“The more this keeps costing us, the less cost-effective it becomes running a ferry service.”

Last month, police released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to after the GPS and radios were stolen from the ferry on June 3.

Read next: CCTV image released after GPS and radios stolen from ferry terminal

A spokesperson from Hampshire Constabulary said: "Officers have been carrying out initial enquiries and are keen to identify the man in this CCTV image.

“Anyone with any information should call us on 101 or report online at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/ quoting reference 44220219908.”

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