London

Boris Johnson's unused water cannon sold for scrap at £300k loss

Water canon Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The machines were bought by Mr Johnson from Germany in 2014 - crucially before their use had been licensed on the UK mainland

Three water cannon bought and refurbished for more than £320,000 while Boris Johnson was London Mayor have been sold for £11,000.

The vehicles were bought by Mr Johnson as crowd-control weapons following the 2011 riots.

They were sold for £11,025 to Nottinghamshire-based Reclamations (Ollerton) Ltd who will dismantle them and export the parts.

Current Mayor Sadiq Khan said "we have managed to finally get rid of them".

The vehicles were bought by Mr Johnson from Germany in 2014 and he volunteered to be blasted by one of them to reassure people of their safety.

Then-Home Secretary Theresa May banned their use in riot situations in England and Wales in 2015, and later used the purchase to ridicule Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership race after David Cameron resigned.

Water cannon have been used in Northern Ireland but have never been deployed in the rest of the UK.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption London's three water cannon were bought and refurbished for more than £320,000

The cannon Mr Johnson bought cost £322,000 to purchase second-hand and then refit. Costs included £32,004 for low emission zone compliance, £19,035 for re-painting, £3,109 for signage, and £970 for the fitting of radios and CD players.

Mr Khan said: "For too long, London taxpayers have had to bear the brunt of Boris Johnson's appalling botched water cannon deal. This has been another waste of taxpayers' money by Boris Johnson."

After Mrs May banned the cannon's use, the Metropolitan Police said it was "naturally disappointed" with the decision.

It said while the weapons would rarely, "if ever", be used, they were "a sensible precaution which would allow us to deal with a number of specific public disorder situations".

A source close to Mr Johnson said during his time as mayor he had cut crime, adding: "This is a legacy the new mayor has sadly been unable to match.

"In the wake of the London riots, with a worrying rise in knife crime and with his hands tied by the political decisions in the Home Office, Boris made tackling crime his number one priority."

The sale was announced as details were revealed of 72 youth projects that will receive the latest round of grants from the Young Londoners Fund.

The schemes, which are aimed at diverting young people away from crime, will receive a share of £13.2m.

Projects include the Ben Kinsella Trust, Redthread and Football Beyond Borders.

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