BOSSES at a Greenock marine training firm have been left stunned after thieves stole £26,000 worth of boat engines.

The culprits used bolt cutters to sever a padlock at the yard at Victoria Harbour and then made off with three outboard motors secured to boats.

Jamie Clark, an instructor with Stream Marine Training, said it was disappointing as they had just moved premises from James Watt Dock.

He said: "I discovered the engines were missing. I was gutted.

"It's got the potential to really affect us as we are in the early stages of moving our boat site to Victoria Harbour.

"We finished up on December 20 and came back to work on January 6 after the Christmas period holidays to discover the theft.

"It is a brand new site which was secured with fencing and a padlock, but they just cut the lock off the gate.

"There is CCTV in the vicinity but but we are now planning to install our own dedicated cameras moving forward."

Jamie believes the thieves had pre-planned the raid.

He said: "The boats are not visible from the road, so they have obviously driven straight in here.

"It's very frustrating, they clearly had prior knowledge of what was in the yard.

"I've worked in the marine industry for a long time and you hear about these things, but it's never happened to me before."

The thieves got away with two 60 and one 25 horsepower engine, as well as fuel tanks.

Jamie said: "There must have been three people at least to do that.

"They went to a bit of trouble and would have to know where to go.

"This wasn't someone driving past, a lot of thought has been put into this.

"One engine was bolted through the hull of one boat and two bolted onto the hull of another, so to get them off wasn't an easy task."

The company runs courses in proficiency in survival craft and rescue boats but Jamie says the break-in is a blow they are determined to recover from quickly.

He told the Tele: "We really need to replace the 25 horsepower engine as we need that boat for one of our core courses.

"I know a lot has been done to restore the reputation of Port Glasgow and Greenock and we are trying to bring people and business into the town.

"No-one in the central belt is offering the service we offer and we need the kit to do this.

"It's an inconvenience - but we are not going to be put out of the game by a couple of chancers."