Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea - and looted - in Cornwall

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Video: Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea in Cornwall

A disability surf instructor had to watch his Land Rover truck and trailer get swept out to sea at high tide in Cornwall - after holidaymakers refused to move out of his way to exit the beach.

Mark Hill, director of Freedom Surf, had just run an event at Great Western beach, and had pre-warned lifeguards he was on his way round to the vehicle exit at Towan beach before the tide came in.

Video: Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea in Cornwall

But when he got there, the beach was overrun with hundreds of tourists - who refused to budge to let the trailer through.

Mr Hill told the Cornish Guardian: "Basically, I was cut off by people, not the tide. I'm not blaming the tourists but I do think people need to be educated on beach awareness.

"I had to tell one lad to move because he was sat on the bumper. A bit of common sense in these situations goes a long way. This was an unfortunate event that could have been avoided."

Video: Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea in Cornwall

He added that he could not even use his equipment designed to get him off the sand, telling the Daily Mail: "Driving on wet sand you have to keep moving or you get stuck, and this is what happened.

"People then swarmed around us and we just couldn't move or get the sand mats down. If I'd tried to use them they can easily shoot out from under the wheels like a torpedo.

"Similarly if I'd tried the ground anchor it could come away and decapitate someone. There was nothing I could do and within 10 minutes we were under water."

Video: Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea in Cornwall

So when the Land Rover truck became submerged and his trailer started bobbing around on the rising water, he unhooked it. A passing fishing trawler towed the trailer back to the harbour, but the truck proved more difficult.

RNLI tried to recover it with no joy. They had to leave it overnight and return in the morning at low tide.

By this time, the truck had been looted by surfers and snorkellers, taking wetsuits, tools and and clothes.

Video: Surf company truck and trailer swept out to sea in Cornwall

Calling the thieves "scumbags", Mr Hill said the converted Land Rover was now just a "shell", telling the BBC: "They weren't stealing from me, they were stealing from people less fortunate than themselves, from disabled children and adults."

According to This Is Cornwall, Mr Hill said he would appreciate any offers of help for Freedom Surf, a not-for-profit organisation he set up in 2006, in association with the NHS and Cornwall Council.



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