The Dredger: digging the dirt?

The Dredger: digging the dirt?

- by Al Roberts

It emerges that not only does Whitby have a “bollard that never rises”, but it also had a “pump that never pumped”

Just as the bollard has a run up of a loss of some £17,000, that figure pales into insignificance compared to the pump, which has apparently generated a loss to the taxpayer of around £50,000.

Below is a the history of the pump taken from SBC documents

Page 72 of the SBC Budget Book 2008/9 records an item described as a DREDGER PUMP being purchased at a cost of  £56,000.

4th July 2008, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Estill stated,

“The Council is currently tendering for a new dredging pump, which would be a huge advantage meaning the pontoons could be dredged without having to fit the ‘Saltwick’ between the pontoons”.

3rd Oct 2008, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Estill stated,

“A new dredging pump had been purchased which would make dredgingeasier in the future at both harbours”.

6th Jan 2009, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group (SHUG)

Capt Estill stated,

“A dredging pump has now been obtained and the bottom of it contains an agitator. Capt Willis added that a trial will soon be carried out on the pontoons at low water to observe how it draws debris in. When the dredger returns at the end of the summer period, the work will be carried out then”.

9th Jan 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Mr Coates asked if the new dredging pump meant that the WYC pontoon could be dredged without moving it?

Mr Willis said the new pump had been trialled and was impressive and should help in obtaining external work. The pump takes a while to deploy. It can cope with up to 25 mm stones and has an agitator fitted

3rd April 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Willis states:

“The load line stability of the dredger will need to be approved by the MCA before the new dredging pump can be used.”

23rd June 2009, SBC Cabinet Meeting

Capt Willis reports to the Cabinet that,

“The new dredger pump has been procured. Consultation between the

Harbour Master and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is continuing

regarding the installation meeting the ship stability and load line certification


21st July 2009, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Ian Vasey states, “due to take place this week is a trial of the new pump”.

24th July 2009, Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Willis reported, “Work continues with the MCA regarding the use of the dredging pump and Mr Riby offered the Group a demonstration”.

16th October 2009, at Whitby Harbour Users’ Group

Capt Willis stated “Work continues with the MCA regarding the use of the dredging pump.”

20th April 2010, at Scarborough Harbour Users’ Group

Geof Hill queried the suction pump operation on the dredger.

Capt Willis stated, “It has proven it was not capable of pumping dredged material to a sufficient density to allow us to dispose of it. As it has proved not fit for purpose, supplier is to take it back. Legal issues still to resolve”

On 12th Oct 2011, it becomes apparent the Legal issues with the supplier were not  resolved when a pump, described as a “Dredger Pump complete with Hose and Floats” was placed for sale on eBay by a seller named as “sbcprocurement”.

The pump was purchased by a bid of £12,921.00 by  “murlacuk”.

The buyers website can be reached via this link

Of the amount realised from the sale of the Dredger Pump there remains to be deducted the unspecified expenditure costs relating to,

  1. The installation, and removal, of the pump aboard the dredger
  1. The MCA survey, stability calculations, loadline certification and insurance premium adjustments.
  1. The cost of the apparently unsuccessful legal issues including possibly the costs of the supplier, and of course eBay selling charges and commission.

A conservative estimate of these expenditures would, I suggest, be around £6,921 in total, leaving a net balance remaining from the sale of the pump, of say £6,000 ?

I suggest the final balance or the Dredger Pump would be:


Cost of Dredger Pump………………….……………………….…………….…..£56,000

Less balance from sale after expenditure costs 1,2 and 3 above….…£6,000

Final cost of loss to taxpayers……………………………………………………£50,000

  • One must question whether eBay was the appropriate place to dispose of a highly specialised piece of equipment and with only trial usage?
  • Which department at SBC stood the loss?
  • Was the loss clearly identified in the SBC balance sheets?
  • Was anyone ever identified as being the person responsible for what appears to be a substantial financial loss to the council taxpayer?

41 Responses to "The Dredger: digging the dirt?"

  1. Nigel Ward  September 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm


    I believe the responsibility for operational Harbour matters falls within the remit of the Whitby Harbour Board (Chair: Cllr. Mike Cockerill, of Filey), who is advised by the SBC Head of Tourism & Culture, Brian Bennett, who is on the record as stating “I must admit, I know nothing about harbours – I’m just groping my way through it all”.

    If you have difficulty obtaining a response from Brian (which is often the case), you could try referring the matter to the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal.

  2. Carl Wetton  September 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Whats with all this digging dirt on each other in Whitby all of a sudden… cant u just enjoy the place and get on with life and cut the bullshit….

    • Ron L  September 15, 2012 at 4:56 am

      Carl – I can see how you have come to that opinion bu please don’t judge all Whitby by the handful on this site who are using it as a modern day Salem.

    • Sally h  September 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

      The point of this site is to bring to the attention of everyone information that would never be reported in the local press . It is factual and alarming to know that those in positions of trust and authority can be allowed to behave as they are . To suggest that it should be ignored can only mean you are one of them or that you are crawling around looking for your backbone …….

      • Ron L  September 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        I know exactly where my backbone is Sally h.
        Can you say the same?

    • Sarraceniac  September 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      As a keen gardener I can vouch that the dirt is meant for digging. And bullshit is very useful too.

      • Ron L  September 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

        So is hoss shit sir, and you and a few others on here seem to have your fair share of it.

  3. Peter Hofschröer  September 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Ah! A dodgy deal that has cost council tax payers money and somebody of questionable reputation has gained by it. Wouldn’t happen to be Dear Jane, that pillar of the community, would it?

  4. ken graham  September 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Just wondering if Murlac were the company the pump was purchased from. Is the name of the company who supplied the pump in the first place on the record ? Its all very dodgy !!! Its a wonder such a specialised pump was ever noticed on Ebay , I cant imagine big companies trawling Ebay for equipment!

  5. Ron L  September 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Peter : your comments really are becoming stranger by the day.

    • Sarraceniac  September 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      So are yours Ron. So are yours.

      • Ron L  September 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

        Only because they don’t agree with yours and the other so called ‘Activists’ (trouble makers) on this site, sir.

  6. Kathleen Parker  September 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Ken i agree with you Murlac specialises in dredging equipment,have they bought it back? It stinks. More money bloody wasted!

  7. Colin Brittain  September 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Good grief,

    All the above is scandalous and yet another example as to how Whitby resident’s are always having to pick up the tab. Reading through the above the following strikes me as somewhat questionable;
    9th Jan 2009 – Mr Willis stated the new pump had been trialled and was impressive.

    Yet on the 21st July Capt Ian Vasey stated the trial of the new pump was going to take place that week, this somewhat contradicts the previous statement.

    Then on the 20th April 2010 Capt Willis finally admitted the all singing all dancing pump had proven to be not capable of pumping dredged material to a sufficient density for removal and it would be returned to the supplier.

    Eventually on 12th Oct 2011 it became apparent the Legal issues with the supplier were not resolved! I have to agree that eBay was hardly the right venue for disposing of a specialised piece of equipment. I doubt very much that anyone was ever identified as being the person responsible for what appears to be a shocking substantial financial loss to the council taxpayer?

  8. Jon Risdon  September 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    No doubt as there is nothing obviously ‘illegal’ about this, everyone at SBC will just shrug their shoulders and put it down to experience; oh, well, no harm done, apart from the implications for the council tax payers of the Borough.

    Of course, if it had been proved to be illegal, something would have been done about it. Wouldn’t it? Anyone?

    • Nigel Ward  September 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Never rush to judgement, Jon. The digging is not over yet . . .

      • Ron L  September 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm

        And you will keep digging Mr Ward and people will keep on seeing you for what you really are. A troublemaker with nothing better to do with his time. Sorry sir, but you really are becoming a legend in your own mind.

  9. Al Roberts  September 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    For the fishing fleet “getting on with life” means going to sea and for many years the fleet has done just that, and in doing so has created the wealth that has provided a functional and profitable harbour
    Over the last 30 years or so the fleet, has been let down badly by SBC who have taken every penny out of the harbour and put the bare minimum of maintenance back, that is why the harbours and piers are literally collapsing about us.
    My opinion is that the £50,000 lost on the pump is an example of the poor standard of harbour management and how resources are not being sensibly used, and one of the reasons that the harbour is in the poor state it is today.
    That said I am open to be persuaded otherwise from anyone earning their living at the harbour who have differing opinions.

  10. Tom Brown  September 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Venturi/pump dredging, what could be simpler?

  11. Sally h  September 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I have explained myself . Now you explain why you are defending those in a position of trust proven to be incompetent and self-serving? Could it be that your ‘backbone’ leads to their back pockets?

    • Ron L  September 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Sally h.
      You have not explained anything.
      And I don’t have to explain anything to you either.
      Do you really think you should be making such brash accusations because someone holds a different opinion to you?
      For the record, I am not defending anyone if you have a read of my posts.
      I just have some concerns as to the way the ‘witch hunt’ against Councillor Kenyon is being conducted.
      Would you like it if you were on the receiving end?

      • Sarraceniac  September 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm

        Ron. Sorry, I have no axe to grind with you, well not much, but your arguments do tend to take me back to the Soham murders of a few years ago when Ian Huntley was found guilty only by a majority of 11 (the alleged sane people, who were right) to 1 (the alleged loony, who presumably was wrong). Now I am not suggesting that you are a loony, but I am very perturbed by your apparent argument that we shouldn’t question and should always believe, our elected representatives’ motives because they are our elected representatives and they work so hard so they must be OK. Democracy shouldn’t work by the simple expedient of putting a cross on a piece of paper once every four years. Our representatives must answer questions from their electorate about what they are doing with our money and other assets, and if they refuse to answer they must be pressured to do so. I think you are very honest in your weird beliefs but have you thought of taking professional advice for this peculiar view you seem to hold that politicians are actually honest? I can recommend a good therapist.

        You call me a stirrer. Not so. I used to be in main-stream politics and I know many of these people, and I could tell you stories about all three major parties that would make your hair stand on end (if, unlike me, you have any) even locally. But those are now old hat. If you want a real nasty about the Scarborough & Whitby Constituency Labour Party’s tax payments just let me know. (But it is dead and useless now, I personally killed it).

        My sole interest these days is making sure that the ordinary people are not ripped off by the people that they put their trust in. I am not a revolutionary, nor, I think is Mr. Ward. We just want truth and justice. He is just better at it than me.

        I shall in future do what most people seem to be doing and ignore your asinine comments.

        • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 5:06 am

          Sarraceniac – If most people are ignoring my asinine comments, I seem to be getting a good few directed at at me !
          Never mind, I can take it, just a shame that most of the commentators on here can’t handle comments that don’t agree with theirs and the mob’s.

        • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 5:17 am

          Sarraceniac – for the record. I would have been in the 11 majority on the Huntley jury.
          You say you were in main-stream politics then go on to say that I ‘hold that politicians are actually honest’.
          This translates to me that you are saying that all politicians are dishonest.
          I personally don’t believe this to be true but then again, if you were one of the said politicians, you are better placed to judge than I !
          Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

      • sally h  September 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

        Comment Removed. Please do not make personal comments its unhelpful. We try to focus solely on facts within public life. Everyone is entitled to privacy within their personal lives.

        • Jane Swales  September 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm

          Comment Removed. Please do not make personal comments its unhelpful. We try to focus solely on facts within public life. Everyone is entitled to privacy within their personal lives.

  12. Nigel Ward  September 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I am no fan of the Daily Mail. That said, there seems to be an up-and-coming group of journalists who are willing to tackle the same issues that I have been attempting to tackle. I believe there is a ‘new wave’ of integrity breaking over the corrupt institutions of local and national government. And I thank all those people who have supported me in my efforts. We have been complacent throughout the ‘boom’ years. Complacent and naive. It is regrettable that it has taken a slump of huge proportions to shake us out of that complacency and hold to account those who have, as a matter of practice and policy, ridden roughshod over the common man and the trust that we have vested in them.

  13. Tom Brown  September 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Ron L seems to have a thing for Jane. What is it Ron?

    • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 5:00 am

      Tom Brown – I have explained my respect for Councillor Kenyon in one of my previous posts. Have a look through the posts, you will find it.
      It is nothing to do with having a ‘thing’ for her.
      It is to do with all the great work she has done for the town of Whitby in the past and in the present whilst the likes of you are snapping at her heels.
      What have you ever done for the town?

  14. Jane Swales  September 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Thank you, Tom Brown.

  15. Tom Brown  September 17, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The odd thing here and there Ron

    • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Well done then Tom !
      Please accept my apologies for not realising who you are.

  16. Gideon Gygax  September 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Some of the rebukes seemingly in defence of Jane Kenyon seem to miss the point. Apathy is what these people thrive on. You need to hit people with a sledgehammer to make the point. Public service cannot be allowed to be an old boys’ network where corruption thrives and ranks close at the first signs of exposure. As far as i can see, the facts are there in regards to Jane Kenyon. So why has it been shrugged off? Surely she should have apologised, stood down and potentially been prosecuted for fraud? Liking or not liking her is besides the point. People like her retaining a powerful position despite clear and knowing contraventions of responsibilities attached to that position are the reason that most people do not believe the fallacy of meritocracy.

  17. admin  September 17, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Is this story in any way related to Jane Kenyon ?Seems she dominates the whole site at the moment. Please stick to debating each separate article.

    • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Point taken admin.
      It would appear that sally h and Jane Swales are getting a bit annoyed with someone having the audacity to disagree with them anyway.
      I seem to have lit their tampon fuses !!!!!

      • Sally h  September 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        I refuse to dignify that last remark with any reply. grow up !

        • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

          Sally h – You have replied !

  18. Tom Brown  September 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Can we get on with the issue i.e an unsuitable and suspicious disposal of a much needed and simple dredging device. We needed it but it seems others were in a greater need.

    • Ron L  September 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Tom Brown – Apologies for trying to inject a bit of much needed humour to the debate.
      However, Whitby already has a dredging device.
      He’s probably the top contributor to the site !

      • Peter Hofschröer  September 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        Then let’s hope he dredges all the dirt up that is blocking decent government in North Yorkshire.

  19. Al Roberts  September 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

    To return to the subject matter, heres a little clip of film with the pump in the starring role.

    The pump must be one of the highest paid filmstars to come out of Whitby!


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whitby photography by glenn kilpatrick