BURGLARS who broke into Huddersfield Sea Cadets' headquarters destroyed three months of hard work.
The intruders stole an engine, steering wheel, console and fuel tank from a 12ft boat.
And they also walked on the fibreglass and wooden boat, damaging it beyond repair.
Now the man in charge of the cadets, Lt Cdr Reginald Horner, has appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
The thieves broke into a lean-to shed next to the cadets' base on Kingsmill Lane in Huddersfield last Wednesday night.
The break-in was discovered the next morning.
Lt Cdr Horner said: "The shed is protected by a security alarm and is also very well locked up.
"The boat was on a trailer and by walking on it the burglars have split the hull.
"The cadets had spent three months working on the boat to equip it and had only used it once."
The boat was a safety boat used at Winscar Reservoir in Dunford Bridge.
The cadets use sailing dinghies there and if they get into problems or capsize, the safety boat rushes to their aid.
The thieves stole the boat's grey Tohatsu M18E outboard engine, serial number 91614 along with all the controls, steering wheel, centre console and fuel tank.
Lt Cdr Horner said he had wanted the police to examine the scene, but no-one attended.
He added: "We believe there was local knowledge in the theft, but unfortunately for us the only response from the police was to give us a crime number.
"We hope that by publicising the theft in the Examiner, someone may be able to help in recovering the items."
Anyone with information should call Huddersfield police on 01484 436659 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.