A houseboat owner whose barge was swept away during flooding last month has been rendered homeless after emergency services and his insurance company failed to assist with its immediate recovery.

Jaques Nel, owns and lives on a 1912 45 foot Dutch Barge named Tosca, which was ripped up from its mooring near the Shillingford Bridge Hotel in Wallingford on January 2.

It was then swept downstream to Benson Weir on the River Thames.

The boat is now marooned on concrete at the weir, leaning against the footbridge, which is closed to the public for safety reasons.

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Mr Nel said: “The water came up so fast – none of us received any flood warning. The water pushed behind from the land side of the boat.

“Where I was moored is where the current hits. My mooring pegs were wrenched up from the ground as they couldn’t handle the force of the water.”

He has subsequently been camping and sofa surfing with friends on neighbouring boats from his usual mooring site as he devises a method of retrieving his boat.

His cat has also had to be rehomed.

He said his insurance company and emergency services have not offered any help in retrieving the boat and he thus has to self-fund its recovery before his insurance company will help.

Mr Nel said: “The insurance company told me 'recovery is for your own account pending successful insurance claim' yet recovering my own property and sending them the bill is not how I understand insurance to work.”

Oxford Mail: Wallingford was badly hit by flooding as this picture from Wallingford Riverside Car Park showsWallingford was badly hit by flooding as this picture from Wallingford Riverside Car Park shows (Image: Amanda Attwood)Oxford Mail: The River Thames outside The Boat House in Wallingford The River Thames outside The Boat House in Wallingford (Image: Newsquest)His boat is licenced and insured with relevant certification. He has been renovating it for the past three years.

Mr Nel added: “The fire and rescue service told me initially they had sent this out of county but came back to me saying it wasn’t within their jurisdiction with no danger to life.

“A local representative for the Environment Agency said the bridge at the weir is closed and the footpath locked. They have no plan to rescue the boat.”

A self-funded rescue, including tugboat hire with a crane, is estimated to cost at least £6,000 following initial discussions.

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His friends have created a GoFundMe page, appealing for donations, as Mr Nel does not have this amount to hand.

The fundraiser has so far raised more than £1,500.

Claire Whitbread, a friend on a neighbouring boat with whom Mr Nel has been residing, said: “We need help to get Jaques his home back. He hates asking for help or charity but right now there is no other option.

“If the required amount is raised and should the insurance company then decide to pay out, any excess funds will be given to any other nearby boaters in a similar predicament."