A YOUTH group has lost an estimated £3,000 after a fleet of kayaks were stolen at the weekend.

Four red Dagger GT 7.8 kayaks, a blue Dagger Juice kayak and paddles were stolen from the Romsey Sea Cadets storage unit in Southampton Road.

The burglary meant the group had to pull out of the Romsey Carnival at the last minute after their equipment had been stolen between 9.30pm on July 18 and 1pm on July 21.

Zoe Bell, who works at Romey Sea Cadets, said: "I felt angry that somebody had taken the kayaks and I am frustrated.

"We had to apply for grants and apply for these boats two years ago and to have them stolen right in the middle of our boating season is quite devastating.

"They are still quite new and it is the cost of the equipment as well that we have to buy to make it safe for the children to use."

She added: "It is going to affect the 27 children because they normally get an hour and a half on the water, but this may go down to 45 minutes now or even less.

"It is quite upsetting and we just increased our transport fleet, because we just purchased an open canoe.

"We thought we could get more children out on the water and now we can't."

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "I am speechless. I just cannot believe this has happened to a group that do so much good for the community.

"Someone who could take their equipment is the lowest of the low. I do not get why people do these things and they must be totally selfish because they do not see what good it does for generations after generations of children."

She added: "I am quite staggered really. People in this area are trying to help young people stay on the straight and narrow and this ruins it for them.

Zoe added: "We will try to raise funds to buy more kayaks and are looking into setting up a GoFundMe page to replace them.

"We also want to raise funds to improve our security within the premises by installing CCTV cameras to act as a deterrent."

Anyone with information on the burglary should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting 44190254979.