A PEDESTRIAN was assaulted, and two boats were badly damaged during a series of incidents along the River Stour in Christchurch over the weekend.

Police and coastguards were called to Christchurch Quay on June 13 after reports of an “out-of-control” boat causing damage to other vessels and posing a danger to civilians.

Three people, who hired boats from Quay Leisure Boat Hire, were seen speeding along the river, crashing into moored boats and reportedly knocking people off inflatable kayaks and paddleboards.

A police spokesman said: “We received a report at 3.40pm on Sunday June 13 of an out-of-control boat that was causing a danger to other watercraft in the area of Christchurch Quay.

“It was reported that damage was caused to two other boats and a member of the public was assaulted.

“Police liaised with the coastguard, who attended the scene and enquiries into the matter are ongoing. No arrests have been made.”

The boat rental service on the banks of the River Stour in Christchurch had rented out four boats to a group of families at around 3pm.

Director of Quay Leisure Boat Hire Nick May said: “These guys went out and caused mayhem. They were doing rings in the river and just causing havoc.

“One of the guys who got out had kicked the throttle level forward and left the boat doing doughnuts in the middle of the river with no one on board, whilst another seemed intent on ramming into moored boats and knocking paddleboarders off their paddleboards.

“As they were leaving, one of them shoved one of our boats in the water which could have been potentially quite dangerous.”

The incidents came to an end when staff from the boat hire company used a faster boat to get the hire boat under control by crashing into the boat to force it to the bank where it crashed into another moored boat.

Bournemouth Echo: Police and coastguards were called to Christchurch Quay on June 13 after reports of an “out-of-control” boat causing damage to other vessels and posing a danger to civilians

Whilst this was going on, the police were contacted but as they arrived, the culprits had already dispersed.

Mr May added: “We sent out two of our boats to round them up. When they were cornered, one of them hopped out into the shore and abandoned the boat and another one seemed to know the area quite well and went to the beach opposite the Captain’s Club and ran off.

“One of the boats came back and the driver was so apologetic. He was absolutely mortified and apologies for everything that had happened.

“Some people think they own the river when they are on a boat. They were on a proper expedition to get away with as much as they could.”

The boat hire company are pleading to be given similar permission to that authorised to pub landlords, to refuse certain customers to prevent incidents like this happening in the future.

“This is a constant problem for us,” said Mr May. “We have put in place rules that ask for peoples’ ID and card number but that is clearly not enough.”

“If they all appear to be well behaved and sober, we have no grounds to say no to them.

He added: “What we need to be able to do is to be given the permission to say to some people ‘you can’t come in our boats’ just because we don’t trust them, like a landlord at a pub can do but, currently, we are outside of that legislation.

“They have a responsibility to prevent trouble from breaking out, but we are such a niche little industry that there isn’t the legislation to cover that.

“At the end of the day, I have a responsibility to not only look after my staff and myself, but other people on the water.”