Another day, and another email arrives from a fellow Letterboxer who is reviewing their list of contacts. The new year and the brisk wind blowing has put the group into the mood for Spring cleaning. Or is it more than that?
As I said in my previous post, the spate of letterbox thefts has put boxers on the defensive, hence boxing friends and confidantes are under intense scrutiny.
One card only...this will give you all who have worked them out a chance to collect the whole set because the thief IS one of you on my list of 161 boxers, or someone on your list... If things go well more walks will follow. If not, this will be my last set.- Frustration evident in note on one Letterboxer's clue sheet
If, as some Letterboxers have found, word-of-mouth clues are sent out only for the boxes to swiftly go missing, it is hard to avoid the possibility that the criminal could be someone you trusted.
A debate was sparked on the Geocaching site regarding the removal of litterboxes - unmaintained Letterboxes. Indeed, a similar debate has raged on the Letterboxing forums too. Yet when letterboxes which are clearly looked after, in reasonably good condition, with owner's detail inside begin to vanish, it seems far more sinister. There are elements of the wider Dartmoor community that clearly oppose the hobby. No boxer remains immune to the thefts. My recent set lost a box though I assume it was stolen (and my contact details were inside).
Why the sudden housekeeping? If the thief is among us, Letterboxers must urgently review who receives their clues. Additional comments discouraging the passing on of WOM clues to friends have been added for years, though with limited effect. Sending clues to those still known to be Letterboxing is a must, and the past few years have seen numbers of active Letterboxers ebb and flow, Passing the clues to the must trusted and loyal contacts is perhaps the best route, making the hobby more exclusive and secretive than ever.
I'll finish by repeating what I said in my previous post to any potential Letterbox thieves reading my blog. One day you will be found and face justice - theft is a crime. Thieves will never succeed wiping out Dartmoor Letterboxing.