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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Change the archaic salvage laws

How heartbreaking for a Swedish family to see their possessions being stolen and ransacked on a Devon beach. Instead, our archaic and ridiculous salvage laws mean that looters and thieves (they are no more than that) drove from miles around to see what they could drag away, some of them taking bags of dog food even though they don't have dogs.

The rules state that as long as you complete a piece of paper issued by Customs & Excise, you can take what you like from a ship wreck; although there may later be a claim against what you've taken (and indeed, as recounted in the film "Whisky Galore," in the case of alcohol, Customs & Excise can seize the whole lot).

Far better in my mind to have had a proper salvage operation to rescue the containers and return them to their rightful owners, and to have had armed police on standby on the beaches.

Then the world will have been spared yet more pictures of the UK acting like animals.

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