BRENDAN Van Essen went fishing with family and friends in Broughton Creek on the weekend only to return to find his boat trailer had been stolen. The Shellharbour resident, who works in Nowra, had only owned the boat for a little over a week. After launching his boat at the Broughton Creek boat ramp on Back Forest Road on Sunday, Mr Van Essen parked his white Holden Rodeo ute and trailer alongside about 10 other cars. They left the ramp at about 8.30am to go fishing and returned at 11.45am, to discover their trailer stolen. The trailer was four years old and 4.2m (14 feet) long. “I thought it was someone having a joke with me at first,” Mr Van Essen said. Mr Van Essen contacted a friend with a boat trailer who came and collected his boat. “You insure your boat, and car, and caravan but I had never thought about insuring my trailer.” Witnesses have since told Mr Van Essen that they saw a white VL Commodore driving slowly up and down the road and that at about 10.30 some young men were near his car. “My wife put a note on an internet site and we have had some messages from people about the theft. “One message was that locals don’t leave their trailers there; if I had known that I wouldn’t have parked there,” he said. “I think council should put up a sign warning people of the thefts from this boat ramp,” he said. Mr Van Essen said the trailer was encoded with Datadot security and he would be happy to have it returned no questions asked. Anyone with information about the theft can phone 0431 903 429. Nowra Police have been notified and are investigating.