Boat owner finds himself in deep water



East Cambridgeshire District Council has made a successful prosecution regarding illegal mooring on Ely’s Riverside this week.

Magistrates fined Mr Alan Rayner for illegally mooring his boat ‘Irene’ on the River Great Ouse in Ely without permission for four months. The Byelaws allow mooring for a period of 48 hours only, with no return for 48 hours.

Mr Rayner had claimed he could not move the boat, as it did not currently have an engine although he is taking steps to secure a new engine with help from a local boatyard.

However the Magistrates found Mr Rayner guilty and he was fined £500, plus costs of £300 and a victim surcharge fee of £50 for a breach of the East Cambridgeshire District Council Byelaws.

These are applicable to the moorings owned or controlled by the Council between Ely High Bridge and the Railway Bridge at Willow Walk, Ely.

In addition to the fine, Magistrates made clear to Mr Rayner that a ‘boat was still a boat’ regardless of whether it had an engine and therefore the moorings byelaws applied to him. The Magistrates also made clear that Mr Rayner’s boat could have been towed elsewhere where it would not have contravened the Byelaws.

Maggie Camp, Senior Legal Assistant at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said "Mr Rayner first moored his boat ‘Irene’ in Ely in October 2012 but he did not request permission to stay for longer than the permitted 48 hours. Unfortunately despite numerous requests by officers to get him to move on, Mr Rayner continued to moor illegally and we were forced to take legal action as a last resort.

"We are always disappointed when we have to take such steps, as the Council does not want to stop anyone from mooring on the river as long as they only stay for the permitted 48 hour period. If someone is having problems with their boat which prevents them from moving, they should immediately ask the Council for limited consent to stay whilst those problems are being resolved. We can then balance this request against the needs of other boat owners and local residents."

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