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The Globe and Mail

Mom turns son over to police after his yacht escapade

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Oliver Sloley no doubt expected to his mom to keep, well, mum after he stole the family's yacht and took it for a joy-sail on a summer weekend.

No such luck. Now the 22-year-old British university student is facing nine months in jail.

His mother, Annabel, was out of town when he set off in the boat with a friend – neither one of them experienced sailors. Unluckily for him, Mr. Sloley ran into trouble off the coast of Cornwall, and after firing a flare for help, had to be rescued and towed to shore.

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His mom told the Guardian that she felt obligated to go to the police and teach him a lesson, though making the decision to do so was "absolute hell." But it was a matter bigger than the ruined boat, she explained. (The family has since sold it, the Guardian reported.) Rescue workers had to spend time fetching her son from the sea when they could have been helping other sailors in need. "It's not what you want as a parent but have to do what you feel is right," she said.

The penalty may seem stiff but Mr. Sloley did have a few more offences on his conscience: two stolen outboards were also found on the boat, and he admitted to stealing two cheques from his mother, and skipping out on several restaurant meals – though the judge told him stealing his mom's boat was his most serious offence.

When reporters asked her about her relationship with her son, she claimed: "We will be fine. He accepted he was in the wrong and that's it as far as we're concerned."

Of course, Mr. Sloley still has to serve out his jail time (and carry a criminal record with him).

No word on whether mom will visit.

Did she do the right thing pressing charges? Would you ever involve the police if our child took your car for a joyride?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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