Swiss lakes are seeing an increasing rate of outboard motor theft, according to a survey by news agency ATS

Boatowners in Switzerland should be on their guard against outboard motor theft, local police have warned.

This comes after a survey revealed that an increasing number of boats are being targeted on Lake Constance (pictured above).

The lake, which borders Germany and Austria, has seen a 137% increase in outboard motor theft over the past two years, according to a survey by local news agency ATS.

In 2012, 35 outboards were stolen, but this number has risen to 85 for the first nine months of this year alone.

The cheapest models taken cost around 1,000 euros (£792), while the most expensive engine stolen was worth almost 15,000 euros.

Local police have claimed that the crimes are being carried out by organised groups, who later sell on the engines in Eastern Europe.

Speaking after the conviction of a 26-year-old Romanian, prosecutor Bernhard Schöni told ATS: “In that case it wasn’t possible to find any accomplices, even though we believed that he couldn’t have acted alone.”

Possible anti-theft measures suggested by local police include fitting padlocks and taking photos of the engine’s serial number to prove ownership.

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