Thursday, 6 June 2013

Conviction for K&A heritage thief



An important piece of work by our former Chairman, Mike Rodd has successfully protected one small part of the K&A heritage as described below by our partners, CRT

Canal & River Trust press release: 6 June
History experts turn detective to foil heritage thieves

A thief who dug up and stole a historic boundary marker from the Kennet & Avon Canal has been caught out by amateur sleuths, who tracked down the culprit when he sold the item on ebay.

The Great Western Railway iron boundary marker, which dates back to 1917, was stolen last autumn from the gardens of the listed Aldermaston Wharf Cottage on the canal-side in West Berkshire.

A heritage adviser from the Canal & River Trust - the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales - and volunteers from the local Kennet & Avon Canal Trust were quickly on the case. Trawling ebay as one lead, they saw the item had been sold, who had bought it and traced the culprit.

Wayne Sangwell, 44, was convicted of the theft at the Reading Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 3 June. The court ordered him pay a fine of £110, plus £270 costs. At the time of the theft Mr Sangwell had been contracted by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust to run their popular cafĂ© and shop based at the Aldermaston Wharf Cottage.

David Viner, heritage advisor from the Canal & River Trust, who was one of those who helped retrieve the marker, said: “We are delighted to have tracked the boundary marker down and got it back safely, it’s an important part of the history of the railway and canal. Thanks must go to volunteers from the K&A Canal Trust too, as they wouldn’t let it lie. When someone suggested ebay it sounded like looking for a needle in a haystack.

“Fortunately, the thief had placed a photo of the marker online which included part of the canal cottage in the view. The buyer was mortified when we got in touch, but credit to them for returning it so swiftly.

“Heritage theft like this is on the increase. But it’s not just canals, there have been recent examples of vandals plundering major archaeological sites, listed buildings and especially churches where thieves target the lead roofing. That’s why we need to take action; the thief knew exactly what he was doing. We are very happy that the police and courts have pursued this case. Hopefully it will serve as a warning to others and make them think twice about following suit.”

The Great Western Railway Company owned the Kennet & Avon Canal for nearly a century and their distinctive cast-iron boundary markers were used when there was no natural boundary, like a wall or road, to mark the border of their land. The marker has an embossed head bearing details of the company which is attached to a section of railway track very well set into the ground.

Removal of heritage assets and other heritage crimes are an increasing problem nationally. As well as benefitting from the work of volunteers, the Trust works closely on cases with bodies such as English Heritage, which has set up the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH) and also has a police inspector seconded to them as their National Policing Adviser. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal Trust seeks nominations for annual award


Nominations are being sought by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT) for the annual John Gould Award, which is presented annually to a person or group who has undertaken noteworthy actions or deeds for the waterway.

This year’s award covers work undertaken from January to December 2012.
John Gould, from Newbury, Berkshire, inspired many to embark on a 40-year restoration campaign that ended with the reopening of the Kennet and Avon waterway by the Queen in 1990.

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Friday, 25 January 2013

Nominations invited for John Gould Award


THE Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is seeking nominations for the annual John Gould Award.
It is presented annually to a person or group who has undertaken noteworthy actions or deeds for the waterway. This year’s award covers work undertaken from January to December 2012.


John Gould, from Newbury, Berkshire, inspired many to embark on a 40-year restoration campaign that ended with the reopening of the Kennet and Avon waterway by Her Majesty the Queen in 1990. Born in Newbury in 1913, he began his love affair with the waterway as a small boy playing with toy boats on the River Kennet, which flowed past the backyard of his grandfather's harness shop in the market square.

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Climb On Board to see Santa, Gazette and Herald November 29th


The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust is urging parents to book early for the canal trips they are organising with Father Christmas on board.

The trust’s trip boat, the Kenavon Venture, will leave Devizes Wharf at 11am on December 15, 16, 19, 20, 22 and 23, offering mulled wine and mince pies for adults and soft drinks and snacks for children, as well as the chance to get a gift from Santa.

  Alan Smith, the boatmaster of the Kenavon Venture, said: “The Santa trips are a fantastic event for local children who we know look forward to them every year, but also a really lovely thing for the whole family to enjoy."

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Devizes Lanterns Set to Light up Town, Gazette and Herald, 29th November


Schools, community groups and families are this week busy putting the finishing touches to the lanterns they intend to take on the biggest illuminated parade Devizes has ever seen.
Dave Buxton, the artistic director of the Devizes Christmas Festival, says he is confident there will be at least as many lanterns in the parade as last year’s record-breaking 700 plus. This year it could be as many as 1,000.

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Devizes Free Parking as Santa Pays a Visit, Gazette and Herald, 24th November



VISITORS to Devizes will be able to park free for the whole day on November 30 as Wiltshire Council joins in the Christmas spirit.

To encourage more people to visit and enjoy the Devizes Christmas Festival, the town council asked County Hall to agree to free parking throughout the day.

An open air market will operate in the Market Place from 10.30am, with more stalls on offer in the Corn Exchange from 2.30pm.

The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust is once again hosting Santa’s Grotto at its headquarters at Devizes Wharf from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.


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Friday, 30 November 2012

Plea for help with Claverton clear-up, Bath Chronicle, 27th November


Volunteers are needed to help with a clear-up operation at a flooded landmark.
Part of the Claverton Pumping Station has been underwater but manager Pete Dunn is hoping that levels will have subsided enough for him to get in today to survey the damage.

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