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BEAMINSTER TUNNEL TRAGEDY: Thieves raid house of victim
‘DESPICABLE’ thieves have broken into the house of Beaminster Tunnel victim Rosemary Snell and stolen antiques.
Raiders forced entry at the rear of her cottage in Misterton and fled with silver, some of which could be antiques, last weekend.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Warren, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “This is despicable crime that has been committed by someone who may have deliberately targeted the property following the national media coverage.
“The offenders forced entry at the rear of the property and took specific items that are of antique value.
“I would urge anyone who may know anything about this incident to come forward and contact us.
“I would also ask members of the public to remain vigilant and report any sale of antique silver items to us.”
Dorset County Council ward member Rebecca Knox said: “It is just so awful to play on the tragedy of the poor lady and her family.
“Robbery is bad anyway but to take advantage of a tragic occurrence like this, I don’t believe it.”
She added: “It is a horrible personal intrusion.”
Mark Donovan, who is owner of the Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster, said the thieves were the lowest are of the low.
“How the culprits can sleep at night knowing what they have done, I simply don't know.”
Coun Janet Page said she was horrified by such a callous act.
She said: “I am horrified.
“My condolences to her family, it is just piling it on.”
Anyone who can help the police is asked to call Yeovil CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Tragic couple’s last meal
THE tragic couple who died under a landslip at Beaminster Tunnel had their last meal at The Bridge House Hotel.
Hotel owner Mark Donovan said: “Everyone at the hotel is in a state of profound shock and sadness at this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with immediate family and friends.”
Hotel Maitre D’ Jane Fox added: “They were a genuinely nice couple who were always very chatty and interested in each other.”
“They were simply a pleasure to serve and have as our guests.”
Donald Hargreaves, who lives in Beaminster, met Mr Rolfe when they worked in Oman around 15 years ago.
He said: “He was a very nice chap and had a great sense of humour.
“Mike was a big rugby fan and visited us a few times, so it was an absolute shock when we found out and a terrible end.”
Somebody should have closed road
ALAN Williams, from the Western Area Transport Action Group, said after a landslide five years ago Dorset County Council put a wire cage filled with stones to prevent it happening again.
He said: “One has to wonder if anybody has done a health and safety risk assessment on the tunnel if we have heavy rain again. Was it likely to go again?
“They make so much fuss about health and safety but something like the tunnel I would have hoped they had done a risk assessment.
“If they did, why didn’t they act to close the tunnel?
“It had rained for 24 hours and in Bridport the rivers were flooded in the morning.
“Somebody along the line should be checking out if things are safe for you and I to drive through.
“It isn’t as if there hasn’t been a previous landslide around the tunnel.”
An environmental conservation expert who grew up in Beaminster claimed that felling trees and the growth of Himalayan Balsam over the past 20 years could have contributed.
The man, who did not want to be named, said invasive balsam has shallow roots leaving areas where it grows fragile and susceptible to erosion.
He said: “With the loss of deep-rooted trees and other stabilising plants such as gorse and bracken and their replacement with a shallow-rooted alien plant the slope would undoubtedly have been weaker.”