We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

News article created on 20 February 2017

Mystery of sunken safe that stopped a 45 tonne boat in its tracks

A large safe has been discovered in the depths of the Regent's Canal in King's Cross.

View of Regents Canal / Corbridge Crescent Regents Canal, Corbridge Crescent

It took us nearly an hour to crane out the item, which was submerged under Camley Street bridge. It had only been detected after a 45 tonne work boat had crashed into it, stopping the vessel dead in its tracks.

The discovery came as the boat was transporting machinery away from St Pancras Lock, where the Canal & River Trust had recently completed a £150,000 restoration project.

The back of the safe had been broken open and it did not contain any valuables.

It is not the only unusual item to be discovered in the canal, at a time when wildlife is blooming and more people and boaters are using the waterway than ever before. In recent years the Trust’s teams have also helped to recover more than 60 footballs in one spot behind a school in Willesden, a pizza delivery bike (including soggy pizza), and even an unexploded World War Two bomb.

In 2014, they also recovered a spate of abandoned safes from the water, including five from the canal adjacent to Regent’s Park.

Stewart Qureshi, one of our operatives who craned the safe from the water, said: "We do find unusual things in the canal from time to time, but it’s usually when we drain the water out to make repairs. We suspect the raided safe was dropped off the nearby bridge and it’s only because our work boat has a deeper hull than most boats that we discovered it. We’ve been in touch with the police to see what they have to say about it.

“The canals in London are more popular than at any time in living memory. There’s more boats, people using the towpath and volunteers helping us to look after them. They’re a secret part of London, that are probably becoming less and less secret every year. So probably not the best place to dump a something if you’re trying to get away with a crime!”