Thugs drain canal after being refused cash

Published: Thursday, 09 September 2010

CRUISING on the waterways reached a new low last week as a gang of yobs demanded cash from two boaters, and then drained the canal to stop them moving when it was refused!

Boater Malachy Murray and his friend Mark Cooper, were travelling under  the footbridge at Clayton Locks on the Ashton Canal when they were confronted by a large gang who demanded money as a  ‘mooring fee'.

Chased down bank

After refusing to give them money Malachy managed to get into the boat but some of the thugs chased Mark down the bank, and it was an hour later he managed to get back to the boat.

It was then they discovered that they could no longer get away for the gang had opened all the paddles and some lock gates—having a key—and drained the canal, leaving the narrowboat Albert stranded.

Completely helpless

Both men told how they spent a sleepless night expecting the gang to return and attack them as they were on the bottom and completely helpless.

As soon as it was light the following day the men  themselves started letting water down into the empty pounds, but it took several hours to fill and float the boat, and all the time were on edge at being accosted again.

Letting out the water

Of the incident Malachy reported:

"They started spitting at us from a bridge and then approached us from the bank. They started saying they wanted money for mooring up overnight. Then they started letting out all the water.

"Mark was on the bank and they chased him. They were going to beat him for the money. He was missing for an hour. I couldn't get the boat to the bank."

Neither police or BW helped

Malachy rang the police but tells they were not interested saying it was a matter for British Waterways, but it too sent no one to help.

From British Waterways about the incident:

"It's disappointing for us to hear that some of our customers had to endure this anti-social behaviour. We're dedicated to making the canals a clean, safe and enjoyable environment for all our customers."

The two men wanted this publishing as a warning  having 'concern for other people who may go along the canal'.