Barge owner blocked the River Thames in Surrey with illegally moored boats
The owner of two barges who moored his boats illegally for months on one of the busiest sections of the Thames has been ordered to pay more than £20,000.
Alistair Trotman, 55, breached safety regulations when mooring the barges he hired as accommodation at Molesey Lock in Surrey.
His boats, called Kupe and Rhythm of River, were each 25 meters long and were kept next to land owned by the Environment Agency – which took Trotman to court for compromising the safe passage of other boats through the lock.
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Boats permanently moored without the owner’s consent may only stand still on the non-tidal Thames for up to 24 hours and must not cause blockages.
Trotman, of Kingston upon Thames, was found guilty by Staines Magistrates’ Court of mooring the boats longer than the law allowed and ignoring orders from the Thames Harbor Master to release them to move.
He was fined £800 and ordered to pay Environment Agency costs of just over £20,590 plus an £80 victim fine surcharge.
The agency said Trotman moved Rhythm of River ‘a few yards from its original position’ after being warned of the prospect of legal action, but was ‘still in breach of the Harbor Master’s advice. issued against both vessels”.
Waterways officers eventually towed the boats away, with Trotman still inside Kupe.
“He refused to come out to speak to agency staff, who had tried to contact him through documents posted on the ships, phone calls and letters,” the Environment Agency said.
Colin Chiverton, the agency’s environmental director for the Thames, said: ‘Trotman showed disregard for the rules. He illegally moored the two boats in the same place for nearly six months, in defiance of the instructions of the harbor master’s office. Most boats using our locks do so legally and continue along the river. Trotman’s £800 fine and nearly £21,000 costs, instead of the taxpayer footing the legal bill, show the outcome of failing to do so.
“The Environment Agency is also maintaining limited short-lived public moorings along nearly 150 miles of the non-tidal Thames to encourage boating and allow safe mooring at designated locations.
“We urge all Thames boat owners to consider the size and type of vessel they are using and how to comply with mooring requirements.”
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