Dutch Salvage vessels are ransacking three sunken British warships, the final resting place of nearly 1,500 sailors, in an illegal hunt for valuable scrap metal that has triggered outrage among Britains naval community.
Police in Netherlands were preparing to stop the looters, who are using heavy-duty claws on cranes to tear through the remains of the cruisers, which were sunk 22miles off the Dutch coast in a crucial battle at the start of the First World War.
Local Dive operators raised the alarm about the illegal salvage after seeing the damage to one of the North Sea’s most popular diving sites. Along with maritime historians and marine conservationists, they protested to the Dutch Government and warned the British.
A Dutch coastguard aircraft confirmed that salvage vessels were on the site and police found pieces of wreckage on board, but they have been unable to halt the destruction.