£100,000 worth of damage to yachts
Three British squaddies allegedly went on a drunken spree in a French port and destroyed five boats, the Daily Mail reports. They are reported to have stolen one vessel and crashed into four others, causing almost £100,000 damage and resulting in the cancellation of a national fishing competition.
They had been aboard an Army yacht taking part in a regatta in Chantereyne, France.
Three soldiers including a senior officer, took the Army’s yacht, the British soldier, and crashed into four other boats.One of the soldiers, Major Oliver King, was questioned by gendarmes in the marina, about the incident in the early hours of Sunday morning.
French police said all three men were drunk and King had a blood alcohol level twice the legal driving limit. They claim they arrested King and held him for 12 hours, but a spokesman for the Army Sailing Association (ASA) denied he was arrested and said he agreed to be questioned voluntarily.
The yachtis owned by the ASA which is based at Clayton Barracks in Aldershot.
French police commandant Jean-Pierre Mercier said that King, 38, from Caynham, Shropshire, had been part of the regatta on Saturday night.
He said: ‘All three men were drunk. The man we arrested, King, claimed at first he wasn’t responsible. He was invited to return on the Monday when he had sobered up.
‘He then acknowledged taking the boat with his two friends and committed himself to returning with them to answer French justice and compensate the victims.’
Organiser Aurelien Mouchel said: ‘It was a total disgrace. There were 45 boats involved but, because five could not put to sea on Sunday, we had to cancel the event.’
A spokesman for the ASA said: ‘Everything has been blown out of all proportion. No charges have been levelled against the men. They borrowed the boat without the owner’s consent, if you can call that stealing.’
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘All those who are found to fall short of the Army’s high standards are dealt with.’
On his Friends Reunited page, Major King writes: ‘I am still in the Army for my sins. Probably to offset growing up for as long as possible.’
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