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Two divers convicted of wreck robbery

A UK body called the Crown Prosecution Service has announced the conviction of two divers arrested on suspicion of looting on wrecks. The men were alleged to have illegally excavated artefacts from a number of vessels on a number of occasions, including from a protected World War I ship. Experienced 57-year-old diver Nigel Ingram, along
Published: June 27, 2018 - 07:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:58
Two divers convicted of wreck robbery

A UK body called the Crown Prosecution Service has announced the conviction of two divers arrested on suspicion of looting on wrecks. The men were alleged to have illegally excavated artefacts from a number of vessels on a number of occasions, including from a protected World War I ship.

Experienced 57-year-old diver Nigel Ingram, along with his friend 58-year-old boat owner John Blight, denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. Despite this, the court refused to believe them, finding both men guilty as charged. The trial took place at Canterbury Crown Court.

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Both men were found guilty, among other things, of theft committed on the wreck of the cruiser HMS “Hermes”, which was sunk in the English Channel in 1914. It was while diving in this location that Blight’s vessel, the ‘De Bounty’, was boarded by the French services, interested in what the vessel was doing in their territorial waters. As it turned out, Ingram was conducting a wreck dive at the time. The incident took place in September 2014.

wo24-UK-Shipwrecks

Later, Maritime and Coastguard Agency officers conducted a search at Ingram’s home, in Sittingbourne, and found more than 100 items from the sunken wrecks. The artefacts included bells, portholes, telegraphs and many other items from vessels.

Metal bars found in Ingram’s house also did not escape the attention of the services. As it turned out in the course of the investigation, the suspect repeatedly visited the local scrap metal yard between 2012 and 2015, during which time he sold more than 6 tonnes of metal on the spot! What’s more, the visits to the scrap metal yard coincided with notes in a “De Bounty diver recovery” notebook found in his home. During the search £16,000 in cash was also discovered.

Nigel Ingram was sentenced to four years in prison, while fellow boat owner John Blight heard a 3.5-year sentence.

Source: cps.gov.uk

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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