Kayaks and trailer stolen from Russian tourists found dumped in Tsolo

The stolen kayaks included some brands that are rare in SA.
The stolen kayaks included some brands that are rare in SA.
Image: Facebook/Shane Raw

A trailer filled with kayaks worth about R100,000 that was stolen from Russian tourists in Mthatha earlier this week has been recovered in the Eastern Cape.

The trailer was found after a tip-off by a community member, said police spokesperson Col Sibongile Soci.

“On Thursday, the investigating officer received information that the trailer which was reported stolen was seen at Tsolo. At about 8pm, the investigating officer proceeded to Tsolo and found the trailer between Tsolo and Maclear next to the road. Further investigations led the police to Hibary near Mthatha dam where the stolen kayaks were recovered,” said Soci.

No arrests have been made.

Police are still searching for other items that were on the trailer when it was stolen.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga thanked the community for their help.

“Sharing of information plays a pivotal role in solving crime and we urge our communities to work with the police in exposing those who buy suspected stolen property. We applaud the good work from those community members who provide information and tip-offs to the police,” she said.

“We are pleased that the complainant expressed his appreciation for the work done by the police in recovering some of the stolen items”, she added.

Shane Raw, who was helping the tourists with information on where to kayak, said earlier that they had just finished kayaking on the Tsitsa river. Their kayaks were loaded onto the trainer and they stopped in a parking area.

“Their trailer was removed from their vehicle. It seems they were not aware that they were meant to padlock the trailer to their vehicle,” said Raw.

He put out an alert on social media, pleading with community members to help find the rare kayaks which he said were not sold in SA.

“[The post] was shared over 5,000 times by concerned citizens and reached thousands of people across many communities and networks,” he said.

“The outstanding [missing] items include three blue metal trunks full of camping and catering equipment, several fuel canisters and wheels off the trailer,” he said.

Raw said as news of the stolen kayaks went viral that the thieves probably felt the items were “too hot to handle” and dumped them.

The affected tourists returned home just hours before their kayaks were found.

“When they touched down in Istanbul on route home, they received word about the recovery of the stolen goods. Now the process begins to try to get the kayaks and kayaking gear back home to Russia, which will no doubt be a costly exercise,” said Raw.