A LEAKING narrowboat which is being renovated for Oxford Canal Festival has been vandalised.

Money raised from the 2018 festival has gone towards finding the boat, making her safe, covering her with yards of tarpaulin and towing her very slow and carefully to Tooley’s boatyard in Banbury.

Now someone has broken into the boat, while it was moored on the canal at Thrupp, and stole batteries and chains.

Project spokeswoman Cath Nightingale said: “The batteries were being used as ballast to stop the boat from listing, and were taken from the roof.

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The two sets of special chains were being used to pull the boat in when going through narrow locks.

“The incident happened while the boat was at a temporary mooring outside the Boat Inn, while waiting to begin the next stage of its journey with the help of a team of volunteers.

Oxford Mail:

A spokesman for Tooley’s boatyard, who discovered the break-in, said; “The boat will now have to be re-ballasted again before it begins its onward journey on and two new sets of chains will have to be made up to pull the boat in.”

The incident has been reported to Thames Valley Police.

The festival’s search for a suitable boat for community use ended when waterways resident Helen McGregor donated Kilsby, moored near Hythe Bridge Street.

The £7,000 so far raised will help to get Kilsby to dry dock and start work.

Festival co-director Steph Pirrie said earlier: “We shall need about £60,000 to repurpose Kilsby, which we hope to raise from public and private funding, as well as from proceeds from the 2020 Canal Festival and crowdfunding.

“Eventually we hope Kilsby will take pride of place at Jericho Wharf.”

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The festival is a biennial event and the next one takes place in September 2020.

Organisers pledged to find and restore a neglected narrowboat with the help of the community.

Ms Pirrie is a trustee of the charity Jericho Living Heritage Trust, which now owns the boat. She is also co-director of the Oxford Canal Festival,

Anyone interested in getting involved with the project should email hugo@oxfordcanalheritage.org