Illegally-moored boats are being removed from the Oxford Canal as part of a British Waterways’ crackdown on owners who do not have licences.

Five craft have been removed from the water, with another two due to be lifted out.

The owners of two other boats have now licensed them and enforcement action is pending against eight others.

Enforcement officers from British Waterways check the canal using handheld computers twice a month and have the power to remove those that are unlicensed.

Spokesman Murray Geddes said: “It is clearly not fair on the many thousands of boaters who pay their licence and mooring fees, for a small minority to assume they are above the law.”

A licence for a 20-metre boat costs about £742 a year, while one for a 15-metre boat costs about £617. Seized boats are either scrapped, or sold to off-set enforcement costs.