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Barge burglar bags laptops

Barge Edith May, at Lower Halstow
Barge Edith May, at Lower Halstow

by Stephen Waite

Thieves have targeted one of the borough's most historic attractions.

The Edith May Thames sailing barge was broken into at the dock in Lower Halstow at about 7.30pm last Wednesday.

Barge skipper Ed Gransden, 26, said his dad Geoff and his dad's wife Jane had been at the barge, loading up with food for the next day's charter.

"They put all the food on board and then went over to the pub and when they came back someone had been aboard and cleared the grub out of the fridge.

"I had just bought a new laptop and they had nicked that and an old one.

"I've lost all the photos from the last 10 years which were stored on there and a lot of information.

"It's a worst case scenario."

The thieves broke in through wooden hatches which they threw in the water. They were later recovered.

The most valuable piece of equipment stolen was Ed's new Sony Vaio computer which cost him £860. But his old laptop, which was an HP notebook, an external hard drive and a memory stick, although worth very little financially, were invaluable, he said.

The thieves also stole 18 chicken breasts and the same number of packs of bacon.

"If it was just the food it would have been annoying but to nick the laptop with all the information, it's a major headache."

Ed has put posters up around the village asking people to come forward with information.

"Someone must have seen them. There were lots of people around and quite a few dog walkers. We think they must have been on foot."

And he urged those responsible to return the equipment.

"If I could get the external hard drive that would be something.

"I'm appealing to their goodwill. Somehow if I could have the data back."

If anyone can help they should call police on 101.

There was more positive news for the Edith May on Saturday when she won the Thames Barge Match from Gravesend.

It was 60 years since the vessel was crowned champion in the 1953 Coronation match.

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