RNLI thief saved by lifeboat

Tables were turned on a thoughtless burglar as the charity he stole from comes to his rescue

A 19-year-old man who stole an RNLI charity box has been rescued from a sinking fishing boat – by a lifeboat.

Ross Vickars stole the tin during a break-in at a football clubhouse. Vickars and a group of other youths also stole money collected for a handicapped child, bottles of spirits and a fire extinguisher.

But two months later he found himself in need of the service when the fishing boat he was working on started to sink in stormy waters in the middle of the night.

Vickars, the youngest of the five-man crew from Newlyn, Cornwall, feared for his life as the 60ft Ben My Chree began filling with water off the Isles of Scilly.

A lifeboat from the island of St Mary’s made the 17 miles to the sinking boat through heavy seas while a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter winched Vickars to safety. His uncle Jamie Vickars, 32, was rescued by the lifeboat and lifted to the helicopter from there.

Recommended videos for you

All five crew made it safely back to port and their vessel was left to sink. Back on dry land Vickars said: “I was scared – I think we all were.”

Last week he admitted burglary before Truro magistrates. They gave him a community order over the raid on Penzance FC. He was also told to pay £100 compensation to the club plus £85 prosecution costs. A 14-year-old youth has also been given a final warning by police over the raid.